Our reader poll today asks: When you find yourself with extra time on your hands, do you have a list of nonurgent projects you can immediately turn to? Yes. I know exactly what I’ll do with the newfound free time. 64.22% Kind of. I have a general sense of projects in waiting. 32.42% No. I have no idea what I’d do with free time. 3.36% Ready for free time. The vast majority of you have a plan for when you have that “found” free time. Bravo! There’s no time wasted wondering what to start working on when you have a free t0 minutes, hour, day, or week. There’s no need to spend time prioritizing either. You can just get to work. If you’re in the 32% who are a little less rigorous on maintaining such a list, give it a try. Call it your back-burner projects. Break it into groups of things you can do in an hour, a day, or a week. List items in priority order. When the time frees up, jump to your list and dig in! Many folks are realizing right now how valuable such a list can be when they suddenly have a lot more time on their hands. Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below! – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!
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Do you struggle to get your ideas approved? Follow the structured thought process to create better presentations. When you have a recommendation you’re trying to get approved within your organization, there are going to be a lot of stakeholders you have to get your idea in front of. You’ll have to put it in front of your manager, maybe their boss, a director, and some vice presidents. Some of your ideas may even go all the way up to the C-suite. There’s something I like to call Figliuolo’s Law, which states: “An individual’s annual compensation is inversely proportional to the number of slides they can look at before they have a stroke.” I’ve worked with a CEO who said, “If it has a staple, I won’t read it.” I worked closely with another CEO and we went in to present. The other team went to present first. He picked up their presentation, he felt it for heft, and it was about 25 pages long. He threw it across the room and said,
Learn how leaders should effectively communicate and share a vision to make it impactful. Today’s post is by Oleg Konovalov, author of THE VISION CODE: How To Create And Execute A Compelling Vision For Your Business (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Communication makes vision visible and attractive to others. It can inspire the visionary’s passion in others or drive people away. A poorly communicated vision is dead if not successfully shared with others. Communication is the essential property of vision and visionary leadership whose primary role is to make vision a collective property, giving it away so others can participate in it. A vision’s strength is determined by how well it is communicated to others. In practical terms, attracting investors is critical. Attracting as many supporters as possible is even more critical and far more difficult. Only by communicating as broadly and actively as possible does vision gain its full viability and functionality. Three core elements define effective communication of a vision—
Our reader poll today asks: What’s harder: working from the office or working from home? Office: lots of distractions. I focus better at home and doing things on my own. 41.4% Home: lots of distractions and temptations. I need the structure and social aspects of an office. 58.6% Working from home is hard. Many of you reported being challenged working from home. It seems like a great opportunity until you actually try it. Distractions, lack of structure, and lack of coworker contact are all huge challenges. Having worked from home for 15+ years, I’d suggest a few things. 1. Set and maintain a schedule. Hit your desk at the same time every day. Finish work at the same time. 2. Manage family expectations. Tell them if your door is closed, you’re not there or available. 3. Have a hard break away from work at the end of the day to signal you’re “home” again. Work out. Take a walk. Make it a consistent routine. 4. Make time to socialize. Call or video chat with at least two coworkers per day. Carve out the time to do it. 10 to 15 minutes is all it takes. The more structure and routine you can build around working from home, the easier it is to avoid temptations and deal with distractions. Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below! – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!
It’s easy for your team to get sidetracked if your strategy has a lot of moving parts. Learn how to prioritize your most meaningful work. A consistent and regularly-scheduled prioritization process helps eliminate distractions and focus your efforts on the most meaningful projects. Some processes are formal while others are simply frequent conversations about priorities. Choose a process that’s appropriate for the size of your organization. I’ve worked for two very different organizations. One was large and one was a small business unit. In the large one we had a very formal prioritization process. All departments were involved, and you had to have a very rigorous business case to get your idea on the list. In the small business unit it was an informal process. We achieved prioritization by allocating budget to different budget owners. We then gave them discretion to choose their own priorities. In the large organization it was very rigorous, but sometimes we lacked agility. It kept us focused, but at the cost of innovating every once in a while. In the small organization it enabled a lot of distractions to happen. People pursued some pet projects. Pet projects and distractions should not be worked on if they haven’t been prioritized. They had a huge impact. In the small business unit I was in we got a lot of small things done, but a lot of times they were disjointed, they lacked impact, and some of them weren’t even on strategy. Build a prioritization process that is appropriate for the size and complexity of your organization, and make sure that process is in charge of allocating resources accordingly. Embedding prioritization Prioritization processes work great for larger projects that require resource allocation. They don’t necessarily change behaviors related to more day-to-day activities. Embedding a prioritization mindset in […]
Self-awareness is a huge perk of being human. Unfortunately, it can also lead to chronic illness. Today’s post is by Steve Adams, CEO of Tiger Performance Institute and author of Unleash the Peak Performer Within You (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Zebras are horse-like creatures with beautifully striped coats that fascinate children and adults alike. Zebras have a distinct advantage over humans in one particularly important area of life: how they manage stress. To understand this phenomenon, we need to begin with the concept of interference. In my book, Unleash the Peak Performer Within You, I share the Performance Formula. Simply stated, it reads: Performance = Skill – Interference What is Interference? Interference is a term representing anything that prevents your skills from taking over to produce a high level of productivity and performance. A short list of potential interference includes anxiety, ADD, emotional control problems, and poor sleep. There are many more sources of interference, and they all get in the way of good performance. Eliminating or reducing your interference represents a direct path to improved performance. As you begin the journey of learning how to reduce interference and change your health trajectory, understanding and strengthening your autonomic nervous system is vital. The Autonomic Nervous System What is the autonomic nervous system (ANS)? The ANS is a branch of your nervous system that regulates involuntary functions and is constantly assessing the environment around you and sending information to the brain. This ongoing process keeps you healthy and safe and goes unnoticed as you go about your day. Its goal is to balance your body to its environment. Functions such as heart rate, salivary secretions, eye dilation, digestion, and adrenaline release are governed by your ANS. Your ANS has two branches, each at one extreme of functioning. These branches are called […]
Our reader poll today asks: How do you react when you receive unsolicited and unexpected negative feedback? I ignore it. I didn’t ask for it in the first place. 2.3% I get defensive. I explain why the feedback is invalid. 8.7% I sit with it for a while. I have to stew on it before responding or acting. 77.7% I embrace it. I love all kinds of feedback whenever it’s provided. 11.3% Feedback is a gift that must be considered. When receiving unsolicited negative feedback, the overwhelming majority of you try to pause and sit with it before reacting. That’s a wise approach. It gives you time to get out of instinctive and emotional reactive mode. Many times we’ll feel attached when we receive such feedback and it triggers fight or flight mechanisms. By pausing, you get out of the reptilian brain reactions and instead can consider the feedback in a more measured way. That gives you the benefit of being able to parse which portions of the feedback are fair and valid and which ones you’ll choose not to accept. No one likes being surprised with negative feedback. One implication of all this for you as leaders is to be sure you don’t put team members or other colleagues in this fight or flight moment and, when you do provide constructive feedback, give them the courtesy of time to sit back and reflect on it as well. Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below! – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get […]
Make sure your team has a clear understanding of how their goals relate to your organization’s broader vision and mission. For a goal to be relevant, it has to tie to the broader purpose and goals of the entire organization. Your strategy is going to help drive that. The strategy consists of a desired future state and definition of how you’re going to get there. You should break that strategy down into smaller, interim goals on that path. Every goal that gets set in the organization should be linked to that broader element of your strategy. How to Tie Your Goals to the Broader Mission How do you do that? Take a look at your vision and your mission. Look at where you’re going as an organization. Break that down into major themes over the course of the strategic planning period. For each theme, break that down into actions you’ll have to take to achieve that theme. For each action, break that down into sub-actions until you can set an individual goal for each of those actions. Case Study: Lawn and Garden Company I worked for a lawn and garden company at one point and I was in the strategic planning group. We said we’re no longer going to just be a lawn and garden company. We’re going to move into outdoor living. It was a much broader expansion strategy. For each part of the organization, we set goals that were tied to that outdoor living strategy. Our consumer package goods business had goals for new product line expansion and getting into new categories. Our services business had goals for offering new services. Even in the strategy group, we had goals for achieving that outdoor living strategy. We had goals for how many acquisitions we would do and what categories […]
Will Big Data and artificial intelligence ever make CEOs obsolete? Which human leadership traits, if any, are irreplaceable? Today’s post is by Gerald Sindell, partner of The Identity Dynamics Institute It seems like a ridiculous question to ask, somewhat like wondering whether cars really need drivers. Just imagine all the things a driver does every second in order to reach a specific destination: taking in vast amounts of inputs about current conditions of the vehicle’s motion, receiving thousands of changing data points from all the visual clues about lanes, traffic, signs, pedestrians, and all the other moving vehicles in the vicinity, then comparing all this information to a previously set route, and making all the complex choices necessary to arrive safely. You could almost think about that driver as being on the receiving end of a firehose of data, sorting out the most important patterns and then turning all of that into a best course of action — the very definition of intelligence. And that’s why we’ve come so close to going from data that one human can process, to Big Data, which requires dozens of sensors to process. With increasingly vast bodies of knowledge about experiences, one can see how business intelligence, with enough computing power, became artificial intelligence. And so, before too long, the taxi you’re about to hail in Phoenix shows up; Poof! No driver necessary. Which brings us back to those folks in the corporate driver’s seat — the CEO. Doesn’t much of a CEO’s job consist of being on the receiving end of ever-increasing floods of data that can now be gleaned in real time from inputs around the globe? The tick of every sale quickly contributes to a pattern revealing how the marketplace is receiving our products at every given moment. Supply chains are […]
Our reader poll today asks: How do you deal with procrastinators on your team? I give them artificial deadlines to create a buffer so things aren’t last minute. 26% I break tasks down for them and set smaller interim milestones. 34% I allocate time-sensitive work to other team members to avoid issues with this person.6% I give them the deadline and step back. It’s up to them whether they hit it or not. 28% I fuel the last-minute frenzy because I’m also a procrastinator. 6% Soon! I promise… Procrastination kills quality, increases stress, and generally can make work much less enjoyable. If you have procrastinators on your team, it seems the preferred approach is to either set artificial deadlines to force actions sooner or break tasks down into smaller chunks with interim milestones. While the former approach can work, it only works for a while until the procrastinator gets wise to your game. Once they know the deadline isn’t a real deadline, you’re back in the same jam. Consider setting smaller interim milestones. Coach them on how to break down their own work. Try to get to the root of the issue and coach them on it. Is it that they overestimate their capabilities? Underestimate a task’s complexity? Fail to account for common roadblocks? Lack the ability to break big projects into small tasks? Once you understand the root of their issues, you can help them improve their skills in that area. So what are you waiting for? Go help your procrastinators deal with their challenges. Now. Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below! – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this […]
Assembling a high-performing team involves more than just finding great talent. Follow this 7-step formula to develop the team of your dreams. As a leader, one of your most critical responsibilities is to turn your team into what can be considered a high-performing team. And to do that, there are seven elements that you need to bring together to turn your team from one that just exists to one that’s considered high-performing:
Solving day-to-day business problems can sap your time and energy. Learn how to be more efficient by identifying the roots of your problems. Today’s post is by Todd Palmer, CEO of Diversified Industrial Staffing and author of From Suck to Success: A Guide to Extraordinary Entrepreneurship (CLICK HERE to get your copy). One common struggle entrepreneurs face is that they spend too much of their day putting out fires. That leaves them less time to do the most important work in their business. It also stretches them thin from a personal perspective, so they end up overworked, stressed out, and unfulfilled. Are you spending all day putting out fires? Do you struggle to get ahead with your workload because there’s so much on your to-do list? Have you spent years telling yourself that you need to better train team members but haven’t had a break long enough to do so because you are putting out so many fires? If you answer yes to any of these questions, congratulations. You’re your company’s best firefighter. This role is important because it can keep a company going for a long time. Fires come up in every business. These businesses need firefighters on the inside to prevent those fires from spreading. So many business owners I coach complain to me that they spend all their days “putting out fires.” I get it. That’s how I felt for my entire first decade at Diversified Industrial Staffing, too. I spent every day putting out fire after fire, keeping the business open for nearly a decade before the flames got too big for me to control any longer. Every day, it was fire after fire. I’d swoop in and save the day and then move onto the next fire. That was my Groundhog Day. I’d head to […]