5 Steps to Predictable and Reliable Success

Challenged?
 Not meeting your personal and/or business objectives?
Need a proven process that assures measurable results and overcomes obstacles?
Group of Multiethnic People Discussing About Business Issues

 

 Many people think that goal setting is the true secret to success in any area of life. Although setting a goal may seem simple, achieving it is usually another question altogether.

The ability to achieve your goals is the true secret to success!

Why is that? Because you will never achieve your goals unless you:

(1) Know exactly what you want

(2) Are passionate about your goal

(3) Have a solid, realistic plan of action

This is what marks the difference between nebulous dreams and wishes – and truly achievable goals!

Many obstacles and challenges will fly right in your face when you’re going after a goal. Here are 5 time-tested methods that will help get the success you deserve.

1. Know exactly what your goal is: Your first job is to discover exactly what your goal is. What will achieving that goal really look like? Be as specific as possible about exactly what your desired end result is. Your success will be a measure of your clarity – since an achievable goal plan cannot be created around a nebulous “dream.”

If your goal is to create a more successful business, what will that look like? Are you thinking in terms of simply hiring someone to accelerate sales? Are you looking for a very specific monthly profit? Or can your goal be best expressed in terms of a certain lifestyle?

Regardless of what you want, the best way to get it is to first clarify exactly what you want in as much detail as possible. This can be hard work. But without a clear mental picture, you’ll never have the focus required to achieve your goal.

2. Be willing to pay the “entry fee”: Success takes dedicated planning and effort. In a way it’s like building a house. In the beginning all you have is a rough concept. Then you develop a complete set of plans – and you immediately move closer to success. The same is true of creating a better lifestyle, or a more successful business.

But there’s always an “entry fee” to be paid for success. The entry fee? Creating more success in your business may mean less recreational time. Writing your own book may require less TV. Being closer to your children may require adjusting your work or social activities. It’s the “full glass” deal.

If your life (your time) is already full to the top, there’s no room for something new. The entry fee is carving out the time to create that something new.

3. Focus on your goal every day: I’m sure you probably want to achieve your goal as fast as possible. That’s why clear mental focus is so very important.

Consistent daily focus is absolutely necessary to “burn in” the new neural pathways you need to create your new goal. Without daily focus, the old mental habits that have kept you from your goal will continue to take over. This happens automatically – since these old habits replay 24/7 deep in your subconscious mind.

The only way to override subconscious anti-success messages is to consciously focus on what you DO want – and build new neural networks! That’s why success is an every-day event.

Re-commit to your goal every day. Don’t let your goal take a back seat to the daily tasks and distractions that will try to take over. Life WILL try to get in your way. Just get, and stay, on course every day. Focus on your goal, and on success!

4. Get passionate: One of the most powerful tools in your “success tool box” is having real passion for your goal. Why passion? Because intense passionate desire for your goal will help you burn in those new neural pathways even faster.

Many, many scientific studies have shown that intense emotion (passion) is a key success tool. PLUS (and this is really a “big” plus) intense passion will also help you rapidly override any inappropriate old “failure messages” stored in your subconscious mind.

5. Take consistent action: In many ways, actually taking action can be the most difficult step. Successful goal achievement is built by taking one small action after another. The word is ACTION!

If you commit to take at least one small action each day, your actions WILL add up and make a difference. So avoid sitting back waiting for that big second when everything will magically “just happen.” You CAN create whatever you want in life.

The secret is to determine exactly what you want, then pursue it passionately. But remember — in the end, only action and accountability counts! You can’t just dream about it! You have to DO IT!

If you can now see what a process like this can mean to you personally imagine the results if you applied this approach to your organization and created a “Goal Driven Management Team” ? No more delays, excuses, silos, risk, late deliveries, lost sales, and more. We have even achieved greater than 25:1 return on the investment.

If you feel inspired to move to your success achievement to the next level both personally and professionally, give me a call at the number below and learn how this our goal achievement process coaching can accelerate your path to success and enhance your business performance quickly as we have done with others.

4 Steps to Keep Execution Humming

d98f9dcc-fc64-4118-aaa9-5f09ad7e1245In our previous article, we talked about four steps to keep your strategy from dying.
Now, let’s drill down to see what a workable strategy-execution process looks like.
It starts with setting goals. That might sound easy, but most leaders know it’s hard enough sit down and write goals-much less empower the team to get them done. Use this framework to keep execution humming along in every part of your organization:
1. Set specific priorities at the company level.
Start with annual goals. With long-term strategy in mind, what are the priorities for the coming year? To generate ideas, think about possible goals in the key areas of a business (resources, products, process, and markets).
Then, break annual goals into quarterly goals and assign a single, objective metric to each one. For example, how much revenue do you need to make in Q1 to meet your annual target?
 
2. Cascade the goals.
Next, every team and individual should set their own quarterly goals based on the company’s quarterly goals. Again, tie an objective metric to each goal. This exercise ensures that your employees’ work reflects the broader aims of the business.
Doing this well puts you ahead of most of your competitors: According to Deloitte, “barely more than one-third (36 percent) of organizations have a standardized process for cascading goals enterprise wide.”
3. Gather weekly feedback.
Don’t wait until quarter-end to pull back the veil and see whether people met their goals; get regular feedback on how goals are going. Make sure managers check in weekly with their direct reports and escalate any issues to you rapidly. (Software can boost the power of this process tremendously.)
Weekly goal feedback should be:
  • Quantitative and qualitative: You need to know not just about the metric but how the employee feels about the quality of the work.
  • Predictive: You need the employee’s forecast on whether he will meet the goal on time (predictive), not just their status (historical).
 
4. Quickly address new risks.
When you get feedback that a goal is faltering, jump right in. Ask the goal owner what she needs-can someone in the organization offer resources to keep the goal on track? These conversations help the team be nimble and collaborative.
Stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll talk about how leaders who collect predictive insight from the organization benefit from predictable results.
At The SOS Group Inc , we help leaders and organizations develop and implement strategic change, getting them from where they are now to where they want to be-quickly.
We’re now partnering with Khorus, makers of the first enterprise leadership platform. It’s a powerful combination. You get help with developing and implementing strategic goals that spells success for your business, plus the tools and a consistent method for managing and translating the strategy into predictable results.
So,if you’re ready to lead your company forward and gain a measurable competitive advantage in today’s market, give me a call today at 713-249-9569. You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain!

4 Steps to Keeping Your Strategy from Dying

 
KhorusIf you had written the Great American Novel, would you keep it locked in your desk drawer?
If you had developed the cure for the common cold, would you keep it to yourself?
Of course not. Your book is useless until it’s published. Your cure is nothing until it gets produced. Yet CEOs and leaders routinely do something similar: They write grand strategies for the next three, five, or ten years but don’t actually help their organization make it a reality.
How do we know that leaders are terrible at this? For one, research:
 Executing isn’t easy, but following a few simple disciplines can keep your company’s strategy from dying on the vine:
 
1. Turn strategic abstractions into concrete priorities.
It’s one thing to state that the company’s strategy in the next three years is to grow revenue 7 percent year over year and begin global expansion. It’s another to break that down into a playbook for next quarter, including goals and metrics for the major areas of the business. What exactly needs to be achieved, and how will success be measured? Create this clarity by setting 4-7 specific goals for the organization every 90 days, making sure they align with the long-term strategy.
 
2. Help the whole team see their part in the strategy.
Share the strategy and company goals with the entire company, down to the frontline-and require that each team and individual set their own supporting goals for the quarter. This keeps everyone strategically aligned even when they face day-to-day distractions. By ensuring that everyone sets well-defined goals each quarter, you also plant the seeds for a culture of accountability and collaboration.
 
3. Talk about strategy all the time.
Don’t think you can just share the strategy once. Use every chance you get-emails, meetings, town halls, informal chats-to talk about actions, decisions, and goals in the context of strategy. This ongoing articulation of the strategy will help employees act strategically even when you’re not there. Let any fear of repeating yourself go. Talk about strategy, and then talk about it some more.
 
4. Refresh every quarter.
Finally, close the loop at quarter-end. Sit down with the leadership team and discuss: Do we need to tweak the strategy based on what happened in the past 90 days? Where did we excel, and where did we fall short? Communicate key takeaways from this discussion to the whole company, then set and share goals for next quarter.
In their now famous Fortune article, “Why CEOs Fail,” Ram Charan and Geoffrey Colvin explain what trips up 70 percent of chief executives: “It’s bad execution. As simple as that: not getting things done, being indecisive, not delivering on commitments.”
At The SOS Group Inc, our mission is to help business leaders and organizations improve their efficiency and effectiveness by helping them develop and implement strategic change that delivers measurable and predictable results, getting them from where they are now to where they want to be-quickly.
We’re now partnering with Khorus, makers of the first enterprise leadership platform. It’s a powerful combination. You get a measurable and predictable strategy that spells success for your business, plus a consistent method for translating the strategy into teamwork and real results.
Remember you cannot manage what you cannot measure.  So,if you’re ready to lead your company forward and gain a measurable competitive advantage in today’s market, give me a call today at 713-249-9569. You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain!

3 Keys to Enhancing Your Competitive Advantage Today

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During a recent SPE luncheon Hess presented their results and achievements in implementing Lean in their oil and gas operations. They demonstrated outstanding successes and improvements in performance, reducing costs and more.
Lean is about maximizing customer value while minimizing waste, increasing revenues and improving results. Following their success they are expecting their suppliers and contractors to demonstrate commitment and implement Lean programs!  So what should you consider in establishing a Lean program to show commitment and enhance your competitive advantage?
 
Strategy
Lean needs to be a sustainable key strategic commitment cascading from the top down throughout the organization.  Without management’s commitment Lean is just another flavor of the month initiative.
 
Leadership
It is up to leadership to communicate and lead on a continuous basis the implementation of a Lean improvement program. They must cascade accountability and seek out opportunities for improvement in every work process ranging from accounting, management, operations and customer acquisition.
 
Culture
Culture encompasses the values and behaviors of an organization in its execution of the strategy and delivery of results. It is management’s responsibility to nurture the right attitudes and create an environment that motivates its valued resources to achieving the business objectives. Management must make Lean thinking, acting and behaviors a cornerstone of every aspect of their daily business.
 
Winning Results
Rome was not built in a day; however, the ROI from Lean successes can start in less than a week. Companies have realized bottom line improvements of 25 to 45%.  With a continuous program and winning results you can demonstrate your enhanced competitive advantage when your client asks – Are you Lean?
Ask how we can help your team enhance your competitive advantage through a successful Lean initiative.
 
Author – Charles Wilds is senior management consultant with over 30 years of experience in contracting, operations and strategic business development. He works with leadership and organizations to drive alignment to winning behaviors and performance for faster growth and greater profitability.

Enhancing Your Innovative Edge!

76ebaa4f-6cfc-44d3-a177-4b32e2cd21d9In our MUST-DO Strategies post we highlighted that to meet today’s challenges for high quality sustainable growth CEOs are focusing their strategies on Human CapitalCustomer Relations and Operational Excellence.

Let’s look at the fourth strategic area – Innovation!

In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied in organizations in order to further satisfy the needs and expectations of the customers.

The 2015 strategies that CEOs are looking at:

  • How to create a culture of innovation by promoting entrepreneurship and risk taking
  • How to engage in strategic alliances with customers and other business partners
  • How to find, engage and incentivize key talent
  • How to apply new methods, products and services
  • How to develop innovative skills in all employees

These strategies all point to the fundamentals of strategic CHANGE: changing the way we think, changing the way we act, and changing the way we lead those we count on to deliver the results we are seeking.  If you can create an environment where people are recognized for their input, motivated to create and lead, have the right attitudes and skills and give them an engaging direction of where they need to go, CHANGE can happen.

Enhanced outcomes can include: improved company image, more efficient and effective processes and performance, reduced cost, greater accountability, enhanced strategic planning, reliable forecasting and greater goal achievement and better decision-making and greater customer satisfaction. Most of all it will enhance your competitive advantage!

Through our Behavioral Base Change Program we can quickly help you identify the obstacles and then jointly implement an engaging team based change program that will lead to these benefits in today’s challenging market conditions.  Our workshops are tailored to assure focused and quantifiable results.

In our next news letter you will learn more on how forward thinking companies are addressing the next strategic issue; Sustainability!

For a free demonstration on how the Behavioral Based Change Program and tracking tool can quickly create innovation driven team dynamics and enhance your competitive advantage, give me a call. You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain.

 

Operational Excellence – Are you focused on the RIGHT things?

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In our MUST-DO Strategies post we highlighted that to meet today’s challenges for high quality sustainable growth CEOs are focusing their strategies on Human CapitalCustomer Relations and Operational Excellence. Let’s look at Operational Excellence and creating a results driven culture!

The business dictionary defines Operational Excellence as “A philosophy of the workplace where problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership results in the ongoing improvement in an organization. The process involves focusing on the customers’ needs, keeping the employees positive and empowered, and continually improving the current activities in the workplace.”

The strategies and actions that CEOs are looking at:

  • How to raise employee engagement to drive productivity
  • How to achieve better alignment between strategy, objectives, and organizational capabilities
  • How to improve organizational agility and flexibility
  • How to redesign business processes to make them simpler and more effective
  • How to continually improve and innovate

During the recent CERAWeek Conference in Houston we heard:

“People are very creative and very innovative and they respond when they are under pressure.  They respond the best!” ExxonMobil Corp CEO Rex Tillerson. 

“Getting to simplicity is harder. It means getting to the core of what’s needed. Cutting costs in the simple manner is rather easy. Cutting the right costs is much more difficult.” Statoil CEO Eldar Sætre said.

When you take the definition of Operational Excellence and overlay it with the CEO’s focus on people and processes and compare that with what is said at the CERAWeek conference it paints a clearer picture of where your initiatives should focus, but not the what and how.

The challenge is determining the what and how that will quickly result in an improved competitive advantage in today’s marketplace?

Through our “GAP” Implementation Program and the interactive online goal tracking tool we can quickly identify the what and how that have delivered quantum leaps in performance, innovation, risk reduction and improved margins of over 30% per year even in challenging times like today.  Our program and workshops are tailored to your needs and objectives to assure focused and quantifiable results.

In our next news letter you will learn more on how forward thinking companies are addressing the next two strategic issues; Innovation and Sustainable!

For a free demonstration on how the “GAP” Implementation Program and tracking tool can quickly create goal driven team dynamics and enhance your competitive advantage, give me a call. You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain.

Customer Relations – What do they REALLY value?

64a89d0e-3cfe-4f9d-9c77-dd217fddc515In our MUST-DO Strategies post we highlighted that to meet today’s challenges for high quality sustainable growth CEOs are focusing their strategies on Human Capital, Customer Relations and Operational Excellence. Let’s look at Customer Relations – What do they REALLY value?

Creating a strong culture around customers is one of the critical drivers in meeting the multiple challenges facing industry today.  What do we believe customers really want/need:  Price or Value?  If you believe that the only thing they cherish is the price then don’t read anything further.  If you believe that they are looking for value than read on!

The tendency of our traditional sales and business development efforts is to push services and benefits to our customers.  Try changing the game.  Ask customers what they really value and what their expectations for value are.  You may be surprised that the answers.  If you asked this question of your management you might get different responses but in the end customers want to know if you are the type of company that can trust to get the job done!  They’re always looking for the A-Team at the lowest price! Give them more of what they really value!

The strategies that CEOs are looking to related to Customer Relationships focuses on the following areas:

  • Relationships – Leadership should personally engage with key customers and clients to establish the foundation of trust, value, accessibility and commitment.
  • Quality – Customers are looking for quality in the products and services.  Consider what quality is costing you and your clients.  What would you look for if you were in their shoes?
  • Culture – If you look internally and develop a more outward looking customer centric culture in your organization what would you expect the customer’s response to be?
  • Speed – Time is money!   The current market has created a need for speed and reduced waste!  The quicker you can deliver a quality product, the higher value for your client and a more competitive advantage for your success.
  • Differentiation – Use competitive intelligence to identify your differentiators inline with what the customer really want, need and value. This will help you create your market leverage and success.

YES, clients are pushing for cost reductions in today’s marketplace. However, if he believes that he’s getting a great deal and meeting his expectations, he’ll pay for it!  Raising the focus on delivering better value requires innovative solutions throughout your entire business system in order to reach your full potential. It will also reduce waste and risk while increasing your margin potential, growth and shareholder value.

NOW, ask yourself and your teams these questions: What are we selling?  What are our customer’s problems?  How can we solve these problems in a unique or better fashion?  Do we understand their expectations? Have we a differentiated offering?  Are we asking the RIGHT questions and ARE we listening?  Do we have a culture fit and relationship?

Ask us how we can help Empower your potential to Excel and Perform!

Are ATTITUDES affecting your RESULTS?

253ae1e9-1b46-4df6-9a0c-d216e14d5a8bIn our MUST-DO Strategies post last time we highlighted that to meet today’s challenges for high quality sustainable growth CEOs are focusing their strategies on Human Capital, Customer Relations and Operational Excellence. Let’s look at Human Capital – those mission critical resources necessary for business success.

If you want to improve results there are many initiatives you can try but in the end the most effective way may be to get more out of what you already have through behavioral based change. Attitudes affect behaviors which directly impact results.

Do you need an attitude or behavioral based change? Ask yourself and your teams the following questions:

  • What would an improvement in management team effectiveness mean to results?
  • What is turnover of mission critical resources really costing us?
  • How are our culture and behaviors impacting results?
  • How well do we work together as a team?
  • How are our quality and behaviors affecting client attraction and retention?

If there is a disparity with any of the answers to above or you just want to get better, you may need a positive behavioral based change. Ask us how our INSIDE-OUT Success Formula can improve attitudes and your bottom line results, FAST!

Ask us how we can help Empower your potential to Excel and Perform!

Results Assurance

“If we improved any single process in our business by just 1%, or even 0.1%, but we did that every single day – what do you think the effects would be in a month? In a year? In five years?”

Are you looking to assure more successes with sales, profit, satisfied customers and employees, promotions, bonus or more? Do you know the formula for success and have you mastered the art of achieving success? We all know what we want to do and maybe what we should do, however, do we have the behaviors and the know-how and support needed to achieve real success?

There are four key components to being highly successful. Those are:

  • The Want To!
  • The What To!
  • The How To!
  • The Where To!

If you have ever played organized sports you know what it’s like to have a coach encourage you and help you understand the rules, strategy, plays and the behaviors necessary to be successful in that sport.

Business is the same. Be it building teams, managing people, successful sales, career advancement, project management, profitable operations and projects and more we all need a valid success formula and the support to achieve our goals and objectives. It’s a team sport!  If it was all so easy, then why aren’t you already getting the results and rewards you deserve?

The solution is simple; we can give you a proven process today that you and your teams can use to achieve phenomenal long term results, FAST. The ROI starts on day one!

As some of our clients put it:  “It helped me get organized and focused not only on my work but also on what I want to achieve!”,”It helped our team to discuss shared issues and find solutions to common problems.”, “Our sales could double using this formula!”, “The gains we are realizing are priceless!”

There is no charge for the first consultation.  You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain – more profits, advancements, improved retention of mission critical resources, more sales, satisfied customers, reduced risk, behavioral based change, goal driven management teams with results and more! You could say that we are in the Results Assurance Business!

If you’re interested in learning how this success formula can help you get more from what you already have, then give me a call today at 713-249-9569.  I guarantee it will be life changing for you and your business results!

Dedicated to your success!

Your Results Assurance – Executive Coach

Five Keys to Employee Engagement, Retention and Attraction

Engagement

It can’t be forced. It doesn’t have to be complicated. And…it’s largely in your control.

Companies spend time and money to measure, maximize and promote, often with posters and making impressive-sounding proclamations. Yet they rarely encourage leaders to do the simple, everyday things that make a sustained difference.

This article highlights what great leaders do to create an environment that inspires all employees to be their best. Emphasis on “inspires,” as you can not coerce engagement. Emphasis on “best,” as most employees are hungry for work that maximizes their strengths and challenges them to improve.

A seminal report by the Conference Board summarized findings from a number of research studies on employee engagement. They define employee engagement as “a heightened emotional and intellectual connection that an employee has for his/her job, organization, manager, or co-workers that, in turn, influences him/her to apply additional discretionary effort to his/her work.”

The report also found that the most powerful driver of employee engagement is the employee/manager relationship – specifically, managers who care about their employees’ well being, foster trust, and lead with integrity.

In the quest for true engagement, what matters most are leaders who are tuned in, turned on, and who consistently call forth the best effort and best attitudes of employees. And not only does this pay off big time for the organization, but it pays off big time for YOU as well!

So, if you are ready to improve business results and eager to retain top talent, then you are ready for the 5-A Model for Engagement. It details specific tools and practices to cultivate personal and productive employee relationships.

5-A MODEL for Engagement

1. ALIGNMENT: Fit of employee talents and capabilities with role
2. ATTENTION: Ways a leader pays attention to employee
3. ATTITUDE: Positive thinking and positive guidance for positive outcomes
4. APPRECIATION: Cultivating and expressing gratitude and recognition
5. AUTHENTICITY: Leading in a way that is true to one’s own unique strengths, personal style and professional perspective

ALIGNMENT

Alignment addresses the fit between an employee’s strengths and interests with their job responsibilities. For many people I’ve coached, their biggest challenge is that they are asked to do what they cannot do or be what they are not, and the individual is seen as having a “performance issue” rather than being in the wrong job.

So the first task if you want to engage your employees is to be vigilant about uncovering, articulating, and advocating their strengths. This is not always as simple as it sounds. Most managers are trained to find and address what’s lacking in an employee. But research tells us, that we would be wise to spend our time developing and utilizing a person’s strengths as opposed to eliminating their weaknesses.

Additionally, employees feel better and do better when their strengths are aligned with their work. In fact, using the other 4 A’s in this model – and not aligning an employee’s skills and interests with the work – will not result in full engagement.

Tips to Create Alignment:

Two of the many tools on the market that help capture strengths I recommend are: StrengthsFinder found in the book, Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, and VIA Signature Strengths survey which is free and can be found at http://www.viasurvey.org

Ask your employees, “Tell me about a time when you felt most engaged at work…what was happening? What skills were you using?” Ask your employees, “Do you feel you have a chance to use your best strengths in your job?” When promoting or moving people into new roles, ask yourself if the employees will still have a chance to use their strengths. This is especially important when promoting stellar individual performers into management positions.

ATTENTION

Attention includes the physical and non-physical ways you focus on employees. Your most valued resource is your attention. And the quality and nature of how you pay attention speaks volumes about you and the value you place on your employees. Paying positive attention to your employee’s strengths and interests is critical to engagement.

Additionally, you should also look at all they do right, their career ambitions, families, hobbies, concerns, goals. Even employees who prefer some privacy appreciate your asking.

Body language is BIG. Notice how you physically give attention to your employees. Do you use their name when speaking to them? Do you look them in the eye? Shake their hand? Restate what you hear them say? Do you show up at meetings on time? And very important, when in group meetings or one-on-one discussions, do you eliminate distractions like email and phone calls?

Tips for Giving Attention

Turn off all appliances and tune in to your employees.
Ask employees about their career ambitions, hopes, and fears.
Ask employees about their outside interests and families.
Make eye contact and use the name of the person you are speaking with.
Give employees at least 3 positive statements for every critical one.
Say good morning and good evening.
Celebrate the good stuff!

ATTITUDE

The two key behaviors that contribute to displaying and inspiring a positive attitude are positive thinking and positive feeling.

With positive thinking, you approach challenges from a realistically optimistic perspective rather than a pessimistic or victim-oriented one. Realistic optimism doesn’t mean denying problems: It means applying your efforts – and the efforts of others – on what you can control, expecting that by doing so the future will be better.

Pessimistic managers see organizational challenges as pervasive and out of their control, “I’m such a bad manager. This company is going down hill.” Realistically optimistic managers see challenges as opportunities, consider the bad stuff as temporary, and believe in their own resourcefulness and the resourcefulness of others. “It’s true that we’re going through a rough patch. Now what can we do to make it better?”

While some leaders tend towards pessimism or optimism, anyone can choose an optimistic approach to work. Doing so not only feels better but results in better outcomes. Employees want to be engaged with positive people and rewarding endeavors. You must lead the way.

Second, use positive emotion to promote useful outcomes. We all recognize that the simple cold is quite contagious. What is less obvious is how contagious a bad mood can be — especially when it belongs to the manager. Science has established that like physical viruses, moods are indeed contagious. Additionally, negative feelings such as anxiety and anger not only feel bad but shut us down and close us off to new ideas; we become less creative and resourceful.

Barbara Frederickson developed a “broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions” that finds that “There is now hard data showing positive emotions give us access to cognitive, social, psychological and physical resources. In other words, they make us smarter, more creative, more social, and healthier.” And not surprisingly, people in positive moods are more liked by others and more open to ideas and experiences (Frederickson, 1998). The bottom line is that negative emotions tear down — positive emotions build up.

This research, and our own anecdotal experience, suggest how leaders lead and employ smart behaviors that you can use to enhance your — and others’ — emotions.

Tips for Creating a Positive Attitude

·Before going into a meeting, ask yourself what kind of attitude will help work get done at the meeting. The answer will lead you to some ideas for how you want to behave.
·Ration the time you spend with people with negative attitudes.
·Ask yourself and/or your team, “What’s in our control?”
·If someone responds negatively try saying, “That may be AND…”
·To promote positive feelings in yourself, consider the following 5-minute attitude adjustment activities:

oPay attention to your thinking

oGo for a fast power walk in the parking lot

oSpend a few minutes paying attention to your breath

oWrite an email to yourself stating what your goal is and note what thoughts and feelings will assist you in attaining

your goal

oLook at a picture of your family or favorite vacation spot

oAnd yes, one of my clients played the theme song to Rocky every time he wanted to psyche himself up for a big

meeting or moment.

APPRECIATION

“The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated” – William James.

Not only is appreciating a smart strategy for engaging others, but taking time to deeply appreciate what we have fills our tank as well.

You might be thinking that cultivating appreciation is well worn advice–something we heard from our parents or teachers. And that may be. But good common sense is often uncommon. Further, while appreciation is indeed an underused strategy for engagement, there are actually many barriers to practicing it.

For starters, if you are like many leaders, you may consider yourself a high achiever. One thing we know about high achievers is that they are often focused on future goals. And that future orientation makes leaders vulnerable to not seeing all that is currently happening and all that has already been achieved.

Managers are paid to solve problems and put out fires. You’re quick to see what’s not working rather than what is working. You usually look three steps ahead. Again, this tendency can come at the expense of appreciating people now and accomplishments now.

And it’s easy to rely too heavily on reward and recognition programs instead of smaller, sometimes more impactful displays of genuine appreciation. Employees make countless contributions made by employees every day that may not merit formal recognition, but without them we and our organizations could not succeed.

And the last barrier to appreciating is simply the pace of our lives: We forget to stop and appreciate.

Tips for Cultivating Appreciation

·Start or end your meetings with “thank you’s” or personal acknowledgments, (even better if you invite everyone to join in).
·Keep a supply of monogrammed note cards in your desk and make it a point to write a few each week.
·One client enjoyed keeping 10 pennies in his left pants pocket, and every time he gave a sincere acknowledgement he moved a penny from his left pant pocket to his right pant pocket. His goal was to have all 10 pennies moved by the day’s end.
·Spend 5 minutes at the end of each week writing down what you appreciate that week – feel free to include non-work happenings, and by all means, feel free to engage your team and/or your family in the activity. As they say, “What we appreciate appreciates…”
·Leave a note somewhere reminding you to be appreciative.
·And lest you think showing appreciation is just something for the good times – it is even more important when things don’t go well. Consider the manager who when his team was faced with a setback, instead of pointing fingers, asked, “What’s here for us to learn? What can we appreciate about this challenge?”

AUTHENTICITY

Being authentic means expressing yourself in ways that are in keeping with your own authentic style and temperament and with a sincere desire to make your relationships work. Employees can see through technique, so by all means adapt these suggestions in ways that feel good to you. The only caveat is if for instance you recognize an opportunity to be more appreciative, and choose to use a new behavior such as sending thank you notes, realize that at first it may feel awkward because it’s new – which is different from not being authentic.

Tips for Cultivating Authenticity
·Clarify and articulate your core values – use them as anchors and guideposts to inform your leadership actions.
·Tell the truth — and if you don’t know, say so.
·Tell personal stories that demonstrate times you have overcome adversity, managed change, or accomplished an important goal.
·Invest in your own development – know and claim your strengths and weaknesses.
·Honor your commitments.
·Lead by example.

So What’s in it for You?

I love win/win/win propositions, and the good news is that using these 5 A’s of Engagement results in increased engagement for your employees, your company and you!

Align people’s strengths to their job, attend to their needs with keen focus, bring a positive attitude (via thoughts and feelings) to work challenges, consistently convey appreciation for your employees efforts. Practicing these behaviors will inspire higher levels of performance, enhance retention and generate greater commitment to results. You will feel GREAT about yourself as a leader, and the increased commitment and contributions from those you work with will wow you! Promise. Now, here’s to you!

References

Conference Board Report: Employee Engagement: A Review of Current Research and its Implications, 2006. “What Good are Positive Emotions?” by B.L. Frederickson, 1998. Review of General Psychology, 2, pp. 300-319.

Author: Cheryl Rice