Last week was intense as I led four days of training You get the insights through our TGIF: Trust – Gratitude – Inspiration – and Fun.
I’m trusting in the power of vulnerability. Yes, even at work.
I’m still on a “high” from the feedback of last week’s training groups. Folk shared how much they learned about themselves and how this stimulates them to change attitudes and behaviors. Wow!
It happened by creating an environment of trust which paved the way for authentic exchange over both strengths and weaknesses.Vulnerability was given and received.
People realized they are not imposters; they have strengths that are recognized and visible to others! They also learned that challenges present opportunities for learning. Bye, bye to “I’m a failure.” Hello to “I can grow.”
Here are some feedback highlights:
“I realized that I was not invisible. It was empowering to learn how my example of doing my job with dedication and a goal of excellence has inspired others.”
“I learned that I am already brave and strong.”
“I don’t just want money. I really want a LIFE.”
“I should stop telling myself that I’m not confident. I discovered this is not what people think when they meet me. It’s time for me to stop degrading myself.”
Thank you to my clients who trust me. It is a real privilege to be welcomed into their offices and given the opportunity to challenge employees out of their comfort zone…and to come out stronger together 😊!
One of this past week’s clients is an up-and-coming startup, WeMaintain, and their daring talent strategyinspires me.
They hire for potential…which can differ from past achievement.
We met the expert on Internet of Things who learned his skill by making connected skateboards as a hobby. A previous journalist joined them as a front-end coder. The list goes on.
The team overflows with mutual respect. Here is what they say about each other:
“I have such admiration for each person in this team who fully invests in the work and is ready to grow further together.”
“I feel a sense of fullness as I admire the richness of the team. We can go far together.”
During my trainings, I use scenarios to stimulate aha-moments of learning. The goal of one of these scenes is for participants to realize that they cannot change other people’s behavior. They can change their own…. which then will produce a different response from the other person.
We change first.
In one of last week’s training, the role play ended up being particularly hilarious. The principle I had hoped participants would grasp did not come through. ☹ And yet, the scene generated roaring laughter which woke us all up after lunch. 😊
As life passes, one realizes time is…limited. That’s a focusing thought! Read on…
When It’s Urgent to Reflect
I wrote this post after a hearing a professor speak on leadership and reflexion at a Harvard Business School reunion. My father had encouraged me to attend the school and the place holds a soft spot for us. Read on…
Serenity. To Accept the Things We Cannot Change
We cannot change the passage of time and the impact it has on our bodies and our relationships. But discover what we can do about it! Read on…
Interview with Elizabeth Moreno, CEO of Lenovo France
Lenovo speaks of taking risks: how she learned how to embrace risk-taking with confidence and thrive. Read on…
Today, on the Day of Compliments, we may hear a few more, “Great Job!”
It’s like candy to the soul.
Question: Should we be feeding compliments and candy to our employees?!
Answer: YES and NO!!
Yes, Encourage Team Members!
People succeed better when they feel better.
This principle motivates many corporate happiness initiatives. Research asserts that a positive mindset
increases creativity (easier to find solutions to challenges),
communication (better listening), and
productivity (more energy).
Employees, like every human being, thrive when their needs for belonging and contribution to a meaningful purpose are met.
Research demonstrates that there is a positive and a destructive way of encouraging people.
Encourage by Noticing Progress
The research of Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School indicates that progress ranks among the highest motivating factors for employees, whether it be advancement on small tasks or passing thresholds on major projects.
It’s easy to mark the moment when we sign on a new client. What kept the team motivated throughout the months preceding the closing of the deal? Noticing progress throughout the modest stages of the sales cycle feeds motivation too.
The “small” progress steps often go unnoticed. There is work ahead! Baby steps can seem insignificant.
And yet, Amabile asserts the positive impact on motivation that comes from recognizing progress.
Why not redefine complex projects into a series of quick wins?
Don’t Compliment. Use Encouragement.
Encourage by Focusing on Growth
Carol Dweck of Stanford University unearthed the notions of fixed and growth mindset. The way we interact with our team members can orient them towards the fixed or the growth mindset.
What are these mindsets?
The fixed mindset asserts that people have innate capabilities. Either you are good in math or you are not. Either you are creative or too bad.
Liken it to growing to a certain height. Once we have reached our adult height, we don’t get taller.
The growth mindset asserts that people can learn. All the time. No matter how much we already know.
Think of building muscle. We can always get stronger. Strength builds through regular exercise of multiple muscles in various ways.
What’s your mindset?
Try this quiz. For the six statements below, what mindset do they encourage? (Scroll to the end for results)
I’m so proud of you!
You really put a lot of effort into that!
I trust your judgement.
You did it the right way!
You are so talented!
You must be proud of yourself!
All of the above may sound positive. What’s the difference?
The fixed mindset comments provide extrinsic motivation (dependence upon an outside push).
On the other hand, the growth mindset ones generate intrinsic motivation (self-impulse).
Compliments vs. Encouragement
Jane Nelsen, doctor in education and founder of Positive Discipline, differentiates these as compliments (extrinsic motivation) vs. encouragement (intrinsic motivation). Nelsen likens compliments to candy.
Delightful as a treat. Unhealthy as a meal.
Addictive like sugar. Gives a quick rush…followed by need for more.
These semantics resonate with me in that compliments are given to people for having reached a result. Encouragement applies for people in work-in-progress…folk like ME!!!!
Our choice of words matters. Carol Dweck shares tips to encourage (vs. compliment) students. They apply to learners of all ages throughout life. Enjoy 😊
Encouragement that Works
One of my most memorable encouraging situations was during a training for ex-prisoners to gain emotional intelligent skills to take responsibility for their life.
At the close of our seven-week training (we met weekly for ½ day), my colleague and I wrote encouragement notes to each of the participants.
We carved out time to generate progress-centered, growth-focused encouragements. What does one say to someone who sits through each session with arms folded and barely speaks? How to respond to someone who repeats, “Everything is fine. Nothing to change.” when he is wearing an electronic bracelet and involved in a recovery program?
To be honest, the easiest response is critique: “Get real.” “Do something.”
These men (and you and I to a lesser extent) have been judged all their lives. Further criticism merely reinforces the status quo. We wanted to help them take one (or more) step forward.
Below are some of the encouragements we gave them. These life-roughened men were so to touched; they insisted on reading them all out loud. One man responded for the entire group, ”No one has ever spoken to us in this way!”
We noticed your ambition to start your own business and we encourage you in that goal. You can choose what kind of boss to be … and if you want it, you have the capabilities to be both firm and humane simultaneously.
We noticed your courage and your desire to change your life and we encourage you to take a first step towards professional training in preparation for your return to your family.
We noticed and appreciated your growing contribution to the group and hope you become aware of what you bring to others through your personality and ideas.
We appreciate your sense of responsibility that you demonstrated through your attentiveness to our groups’ comfort, your regular attendance, and the job you held in prison. We are confident you can put this skill to use as you embark on your job search.
We noticed your ability to assimilate the concepts and tools of Positive Discipline and constructive communication. We have every confidence that you will be able to implement them and be a good example for the people around you.
You have demonstrated a strong sense of belonging through your family life, your trade and your company. This gives us great confidence in you since a sense of belonging is a fundamental sign of a healthy life.
How do you speak to your employees? Especially those whose motivation you want to boost.
Click here to discover workshops to communicate constructively in your team.
Experts’ Research on Encouragement
Extrinsic motivation that points towards fixed mindset
I’m so proud of you! (Have to please the other person)
You did it the right way! (Only one correct way. Where is room for experimentation?)
You are so talented! (An inate quality)
Intrinsic motivaton that stimulates the growth mindset
You really put a lot of effort into that! (Focus on effort)
I trust your judgement. (Allows room for error and exploration)
You must be proud of yourself! (Focus on self-motivation)
With the recent snowstorm in Paris, folk talk about other people’s responsibilities, especially what the governement should have done.
Today, I’m focusing on what I can do differently and what I learned about management from the 20 cm of snow in our garden.
Our decorative bushes usually stand proudly 1 meter high. Laden with snow, they barely rise above the ground.
Commuting to work means schlepping through the snow and slush. If it’s not cleared out, in the evening we’re slipping and sliding. (I love the above photo by Christophe Jacrot taken in front of the Samaritaine. Check out more of his beautiful pictures of Paris in the snow here.)
In dealing with our plants and path here is what I (re)learned about management.
1. Remove Needless Burdens
Laden and frozen branches approached their breaking point. Removing the mounds of snow gives them a chance to survive.
They barely needed much help: a bit of shaking off and retrieving the branches buried in the flakes.
What are some of the burdens dumped on employees at work?
Expected 24/7 availability
Let’s take a closer look at the impact of negativity and how to lighten the load.
Each snowflake numbs with cold and weighs down minutely. It’s the culmination that damages. Like most of the criticism we give and take.
“Late, again?” publicly announced.
“Why did you do it this way? (regarding the format for the presentation or the homework in purple pen or the baked instead of fried chicken…)
Questions beginning with “Why” often put people on the defensive. The intent behind the question is often, “Why did you not do it my way?”
“You didn’t do _____?”
The twenty major accomplishments slip by without a remark. The one item remaining on the list gets highlighted.
“Yes, but ______” which really means, “No. And I won’t listen.”
Taken individually, each of these comments seems innocuous. “You are over-reacting!”
It’s a different story when you’ve heard a hundred of them in less than a week.
Take the Critique Test
Find out if YOU are the one inflicting minor chills on an ongoing basis!
Invite a colleague, friend, or family member to listen to you and to note both your reproving and your encouraging comments. When we receive their feedback graciously (without being defensive), we discover a lot about ourself and our relationship grows in trust.
If you tend towards demotivating fault-finding, it’s more comfortable to find it out from a person of your chosing than during a formal review session!
Shake Off Negative Critique
Be quick to learn and to be flexible with others.
Avoid Taking Critique too Personally
When I shook the flexible branches, they easily dropped their burden of snow. The rigid tree limbs held onto the piles of snow.
Are you insisting on being right? That your viewpoint is THE ONLY VALID perspective? Be flexible. Be curious.
“Help me understand. What would an excellent report look like?”
“If I were to do ______ and ______, would that be satisfactory? If not, what is missing?”
“I hear that you are dissatisfied. On a scale of 1 (very bad) to 10 (excellent) how would you esteem the quality of this work?”
Seek Benevolent yet Straight-Forward Feedback
There might be truth in the critique. Does your reputation lean towards tardiness rather than timeliness? Do you hide your work until the last minute so colleagues are not aware of your choices along the way?
Find out. Seek feedback directly from someone you know appreciates you as a person.
Those branches did need some shaking up for the snow to fall off.
When a friend told me to arrive 10 minutes early, not right on time, I knew punctuality ranked among my needed areas for improvement!
2. Use the Available Resources
Since Paris is rarely under snow, we don’t own the equipment to shovel the walk and dig out the car.
The work still need to be done.
Out came the rake, the broom, and the metal dustbin. These hardly classify as the ideal snow clearing tools, yet their availability rendered them optimal for me.
Years ago, upon graduating from Harvard Business School, a group of students and I spent two weeks in Peru on a humanitarian trip to build a sidewalk for a school teaching technical skills to polio survivors. In this jungle town of dirt roads, our sidewalk would enable students to access their classes during the rainy season.
The construction manager, a leathery-skinned man who looked ancient to me and was probably forty-years-old and prematurely aged by challenging conditions, instructed me to level the ground. Which tool would generate the optimal results: the short-handled flat-edged shovel, the rusty round-edged shovel, or the stick? THE ELBOW GREASE!
A tool makes A difference. How we use it makes ALL the difference.
3. Work in Layers
Armed with imperfect tools, I discovered the most effective tactic lay in working in layers: first raking off, then hand shoveling, and finally brushing away snow as needed. Each step made the next one possible. I tried beginning with the hand shovel, but cutting corners simply broke my back!
On a professional front, I focus on layering in my training classes too. Teaching a concept with theory, then sharing an example, introducing multiple perspectives through a role play or activity, and inviting each participant to share a take-away and thus to take ownership of their learning.
It’s like tiramisu: a combination of different and complimentary layers that get repeated. Together they create a delicacy.
Try layers in personal as well as professional relationships too. When a child resists homework, parents often address the challenge in the same way again and again. Voice. More Voice. DO IT NOW.
That’s re-investing in the losing strategy.
Consider additional tools and layers:
Break down the work into smaller chunks
Sit beside your child with your work as he does his
Engage in a conversation (veritable exchange) regarding his view of the value of school. Try these discussion-inviting questions:
“Describe what life would be like if you dropped out now….”How would it be different if you graduated from high school…or college?”
“What bothers you the most about homework?”
“What is one benefit about doing your work for school?”
“If you were not to do homework, how would you use this time and energy?”
Frame grades to celebrate successes
This Paris snow storm got me inspired . Read here about insights on diversity.
What do you think of these life lessons taken from current events? Let me know in the comments.
Play teaches children how to overcome boredom, to set and follow rules, to win and lose with respect. Those are leadership skills!
Let kids direct the play (that’s your gift). You’ll discover them WHILE helping your child learn to thrive….even with challenging team members (you?).
You thought your daughter was impatient? She spends ½ hour dressing and undressing a doll! That will stretch the fortitude of many adults.
One Mom’s Story
The first year I offered these gifts to my sons they all invited me to play their favorite video game. “Oh, no! Wrong gift!” I thought.
These shared screen times taught me so much. This time was “extra video time” for the children and since the intent was to share a moment together, they willingly spent 30 minutes teaching me why they like this particular game, what makes it exciting, and how to win.
I observed their skills (or lack of) in anticipation, in strategizing, in concentration, and more.
And the following week when they struggled with homework, we applied ideas from the game to help concentration. “Let’s create levels. When you finish your first math problem, you reach level 2!”
The next year, I gave each child two gifts of time. One could be used for games on screens. The other was for something else of their choice. One child wanted to learn more about his bank statement. Another wanted to go shopping.
I kept doing this for years, even when our eldest was in high school. He asked for a visit to the ophthalmologist to see about contact lenses!
You Don’t Feel Like It
Screen games or doll dressing isn’t your cup of tea? Is homework theirs?
Look to the bigger picture. Model leadership and balance long term gains with short term costs.
You’re creating memories, proving their importance, and connecting on their level! You’ll be amazed how that encourages them to seek to connect on issues of importance to you…like picking up their bags and coats in the front hallway. Seriously.
The Children Don’t Feel Like It
Kids might act like they don’t want to play with you.
“Children often resist love when they need it the most.”
“Children often resist love when they need it the most,” assert Dr. Scott Turansky and nurse Joan Miller, authors of Parenting is Heart Work. Be creative and kindly insistent. They might be testing the sincerity of your offer.
If the kids don’t want to play, consider admiring them for 15 minutes. No words. No judgement. Simply seeking to understand them in their environment.
Say “Thank You”
That magic word for all ages concludes your time together on a positive note.
The Biggest Kid of Them All
How about playing with your spouse……! We’ve got a gift certificate for them too!
For many of us reflection seems like a luxury in our over-packed schedules and high-efficiency mindset.
We feel a need to respond immediately.
In our world of disruptive innovation and fast change, don’t we really need to initiate?
Proactivity requires reflection. Overcoming recurring stumbling blocks demands new solutions. In the words of Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
Reflection gets us thinking at another level.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” – Albert Einstein
Here are five situations when deeper level thinking is vital.
1. When Faced with Failure
The deal you were about to close fell through at the last minute.
You expected a positive response from a colleague and met a very different reaction.
An employee left the company or is in burnout.
We could be too close to the problem.
Try stepping back using space. Using Post-It notes, write one element of your challenge on each note and place them in order on a wall. Step back and discover the pattern. Where is the breaking point?
Try stepping back or forward with time. Two weeks ago, what was the situation like? Two weeks from now, what would you like to happen?
2. When Your Body “Complains”
You cannot sleep at night.
You have gained or lost weight.
You get sick.
Your digestion has gone havoc; gurgling sounds interrupt your meetings (!)
“If I knew I would live this long I would have taken better care of myself.” – 90 year-old Al McDonald, previous Managing Director (CEO) of McKinsey & Company
Your and my energy is finite. With exercise, nutrition, self-care, and planning we can increase our productivity … to a limit.
Physical signs point to a need for change. It’s time to re-evaluate the distribution of work. Are you accepting too many projects? Is it difficult to say, “No”?
Seeking recognition is a common goal. All humans experience the fundamental need to belong and to contribute to a meaningful community. Colleagues and neighbors may admire superhumans from afar. It’s people we come alongside. It’s relationships with fellow humans that bring meaning to work and life.
Review your investments in time and energy to identify tasks to delegate… and offer others a chance to grow and contribute too.
3. When Bored or Feeling Blasé
When all you see is 10 000 shades of grey, mental fatigue may be blinding you to life in full color spectrum.
Consider these color images. The first lacks greens. The second is without red. Without these hues, one can miss out on the obvious.
When life appears color blind, it’s an invitation to reflect. Easier said than done when we are in the blues. Connecting with another person can add the clarity of perception we may have temporarily lost. (That’s what coaches like me do.)
We have been given life in technicolor. It’s urgent to re-assess when life appears monochromatic.
4. When Your Calendar is Always Full
I read of a foreigner learning English who integrated phrases she heard spoken around herShe learned to respond to, “How are you?” with, “I’m so busy.”
Many of us live with little margin. We plan flexibility out of our lives.
Think of Yourself
Have you travelled on an airplane recently? The flight attendants remind us to put on our oxygen mask BEFORE we help others.
Many people postpone self-care, prioritize working for others over taking time for oneself. If you don’t invest in yourself, why should anyone else?
Self-care is a way to express your worth to your entourage. Again, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should your boss, colleague, spouse, or child?
5. When You are Bitter or Jealous
We all look at the world through a filter. The lens of envy focuses on faults … and since we are all humans, imperfections in each of us will be found.
Bitterness jettisons us into a vicious cycle of hurt and retaliation. It’s a lose-lose situation, and the one who harbors bitterness suffers most of all.
Lack of forgiveness is like drinking the poison you wish for someone else, reminds us Nelson Mandela. Riddled with venom we perish; our joy dies, our ability to contribute constructively dwindles, and our sense of belonging withers.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” – Nelson Mandela
Focus on Long Term Benefits
Numerous studies report how the elderly look back on their life. Men and women lament the energy they wasted on insisting that they were right, even at the cost of a relationship. The wise in years wish for strong rapport with folk who know their imperfections AND respect them still.
You may not desire nor need to reconnect in a hurtful relationship. Do reconnect with yourself and your values. (Often this does imply some kind of gesture in relationship recovery.)
It takes some stepping back to recognize our own responsibility in a relationship rift.
The 10 additional critical words to make SURE the reprimand got across
The 10 additional decibels in our tone of voice so that the entire floor could hear the negative feedback
As we realize and express our responsibility in the conflict, we free ourselves from a victim mentality and from reactivity.
Do you use a mirror to pluck out an ingrown hair? Consider getting a coach or a sparring partner to bring to focus behaviors which could be aggravating an already delicate situation.
Reflection Becomes a Habit of the Mind
Reflection becomes a habit.
Try this activity from Positive Discipline that we do in my workshops:
Put your hands together and interlace your fingers
Straighten your fingers and move them down one notch. If your right index was on top before, the left one will be on top now.
How does it feel? What do you want to do?
One participant shared, “The new hand position felt weird. I wanted to go back to the previous way, and without thinking did so. Then I tried the new hand position again. It still felt unfamiliar, but less uncomfortable. I realized that with practice, I could do this.”
Neuroscience corroborates this phenomenon. When we activate our brain (as in through reflection) neurons create a pathway of connections from one part of the brain to another. As we rethink similar thoughts, those same pathways get utilized, like a path a well-worn path that becomes easier and easier to follow.
This week I heard Muriel Penicaud, the French Minister of Labour, speak on gender equality. The man who introduced her commented that “gender equality is a topic close to her heart.”
Penicaud went on to expose the business case for this issue of global concern. She cited French government initiatives to encourage women in leadership positions and to reduce the pay gap between men and women. She shared examples of corporations that had implemented pay equality and the resulting vitality and engagement on the part of all employees.
So why did my hand shoot up during the Q & A ?!
Here was my question:
“In the introduction, gender equality was presented as a subject close to Ms. Penicaud’s heart. For such a global issue with a strong economic case, shouldn’t it be a subject close to men’s hearts too?”
“Point well taken,” responded the male MC, and the discussion moved on.
You, me, and anyone can demean our arguments and distance listeners with well-intentioned, yet un-considered words.
We’ll look at three verbal faux-pas and how a slight reframing transforms these degrading snippets into opportunities to collaborate and reinforce.
Disconnect Trap – Labels
Do NOT: Talk about other’s opinions
“Samira, who is particularly concerned about religious discrimination….”
“Meet Jeanne, our advocate for non-violent communication….”
These comments undermine the person taking a stand AND they don’t make the one saying it look good either. They create disconnect.
The speaker positions him or herself as someone who is not concerned about issues like gender equality, liberty in beliefs, or constructive communication. It invites the question: are they more concerned about themselves than about others?
The person of whom it is spoken is put in a box. Samira and Jeanne may be the savviest financial analysts or most astute marketers in the office, yet the above statements have stripped them of professional qualities and labelled them as “activists.”
DO: Own your opinion
For the talk with the Labour Minister, I would have liked to hear: “Our fourth topic is gender equality, a topic close to Mme Penicaud and to my heart.”
Take a personal stand.
“I respect Samira for her outspokenness regarding religious discrimination.”
“We should all be aware of our unconscious biases, and I have learned much from Jeanne when she calls me to account.”
Owning your opinion keeps gossip down. Instead of talking just about Samira and Jeanne behind their back, now you have a stake in the discussion.
It trains you in leadership. Great managers have their team members’ back. A culture of trust is built as much in the daily interactions as it is in the strategic decisions.
Disconnect Trap – Discrediting Yourself
DO NOT: Introduce your ideas with “I believe”
“I believe we should…“
“In my opinion,…”
If you are saying it, you should believe it.
The personalization of your opinion invites others to transform the topic at hand into an issue with YOU. That’s a disconnection with the business at hand. Stick to the topic.
DO: Speak what you know
If you have facts and observations which lead to a conclusion, you are bringing value to a discussion. Share it.
If you have a creative and helpful idea, share it. Share it with confidence that you are a contributing member of a team. It’s what they hired you to do.
Here are ways to create connection in a group discussion
State the facts “Joe said __________. Jane said __________. A common point is _______.”
Clarify the perspective “We have not yet looked at the situation from the customer service angle…”
Test your ideas in a smaller group or an informal setting first. Ideas build on each other. The more they are shared, the fuller they become. Over lunch: “What do you think about (your idea)?”
Muster courage and state your belief or opinion without an introduction “Here is an opportunity: _________”
Alternatively, stay quiet and listen. Really listen. That brings value.
Disconnect Trap – Shirking Responsibility
Do NOT: Transform responsibilities into favors
“I’ll do it for you when I finish what I’m doing.”
Is this person doing a favor for his boss or colleague?!
I experienced this situation in personal life this week. Full grocery bags sat on the counter and I asked for help to put the food away.
“Let me finish this and I’ll help with your bags after.”Who’s bags? We have five men in our household. Who will be eating most of this food?
Whether your team is at work or in family, everyone benefits. Everyone GETS to (vs. has to) participate in the work. We contribute together for each other.
DO: Own your part of the responsibility
Stick to the task.
“I’ll do it when I finish.”
Play your part willingly.
“What can I do to help? What do you need from me?”
Put it into practice
In my trainings, participants experience “Aha moments” when they discover how their communication creates disconnect. We build these opportunities for self-discovery through interactive activities such as this listening exercise:
Two people face each other standing three meters (yards) apart. Person A reads off statements and Person B responds solely by moving forward (he is motivated to cooperate with Person A) or by stepping back (he disengages).
Some of the statements generate disconnection and Person B steps away from Person A. Others bring them closer together. The entire group pictures how some responses push people away while others build connection.
Want more cooperation in your communication? Drop me a note and we’ll get the conversation flowing.
France just won the soccer World Cup. It happened last 20 years ago.
The World Cup was launched in 1930 and every four years (except during WWII) national soccer teams throughout the world compete for the champion’s prize. Of the 23 FIFA World Cups held over the years, nine countries experienced the glory of winning. Only two times did the same country win twice in a row.
Moss Kanter’s determines that winning stems from confidence and leaders deliver confidence. Learn how and apply her insights to your company or organization.
Success is a process.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter (RMK): “Failure and success are not episodes, they are trajectories.”
“Success is neither magic nor dumb luck; it stems from a great deal of hard work to perfect each detail. It is even a little mundane. Win, go back to work, win again.”
Moss Kanter also describes losing as a process and mindset: blaming and making excuses.
Food for thought:
What processes do you have in place to learn from winning?
How do you share this knowledge?
Confidence-building is the leader’s job.
RMK: “Confidence underlies the performance of individuals, teams, businesses, schools, economies, and nations. The fundamental task of leaders is to develop confidence in advance of victory, in order to attract the investments that make victory possible—money, talent, support, loyalty, attention, effort, or people’s best thinking.”
Food for thought:
What three resources does your team need most now?
Freedom to take risks and learn from mistakes
Consistency in management objectives
Trust to manage their own time and priorities
Appreciation of a job well done
Training to work more effectively as team
Confidence builds on past experiences and reactions to those experiences.
RMK: “But confidence is not an artificial mental construct, solely dependent on what people decide to believe; it reflects reasonable reactions to circumstances. People are caught in cycles, and they interpret events based on what they see happening, on how they are treated by others around them.”
Moss-Kanter refers to events occurring during the performance AND backstage. On the field AND in the locker room. In front of the client AND in the conference room.
Food for thought:
How do your actions “during practice times” contribute to your team’s confidence “in the limelight”?
For example, what are the impact of gossip, ridicule, selective information, and pleasing in your organization?
When and how does your team practice before “big performances”? Which of these apply to your team
Present challenges to the team for co-development
Identify worst-case scenarios and brainstorm potential solutions in anticipation
Role play critical meetings beforehand
Emotions are contagious.
RMK: “Good moods are both causes and effects. Winning puts people in a good mood and being in a good mood makes it easier to win. Positive emotions draw people together and negative emotions tend to push them apart.”
Food for thought:
What emotions do you express or allow at work? When did you last hear someone (including you) say
How proud they are of themselves
They are excited to come to work
It’s satisfying to learn
They enjoy the teamwork
They are bored and would like new challenges
They feel let down and seek ways to build mutual support
What impact does expressing or suppressing emotions have on your team?
Winners face facts and address problems.
RMK: “It builds confidence in leaders when they name problems that everyone knows are there and put facts on the table for everyone to see. It also helps other people get over their fear of exposure and humiliation to see leaders providing examples of accepting responsibility.”
“Accountability is the first cornerstone of confidence….Everyone said they knew what the problems were, but those problems were always some else’s fault.”
Food for thought:
Surprisingly, obvious challenges can be hard to pinpoint. Like the fish who asks, “What is water?”
How can you step back and gain a fresh perspective?
Request feedback from a junior member of your team
Meet with an independent sparring partner
Accept a speaking engagement or an invitation for an interview which challenges you to synthesize strategies and actions
Winners really do work harder. They track the specifics of their progress.
RMK: “(The CEO) was not looking for drama, he was looking for delivery. Delivery required attention to details.”
Moss-Kanter spoke of the boring part of winning: tracking the numbers and being disciplined. It also helps everyone be on the same page and data reveals what needs to improve right now.
RMK: “Data, details, metrics, measurement, analyses, charts, tests, assessments, performance, evaluations, report cards, grades—these are the tools of accountability, but they are neutral tools. The do not restore confidence by themselves. What matters is the culture that surrounds them. For losers, they are another sign that they are watched too closely, not trusted, about to be punished. For winners, they are useful, even vital, tools for understanding and improving performance.”
Food for thought:
On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how relevant are your metrics? How much do you rely on your KPI’s for decision-making?
What do metrics conjure up in your culture: blame or learning? What will you do about that?
Can there be Winners without Losers?
In the World Cup only one team receives the championship cup.
And yet, no one can categorize Croatia as “Losers” in the 2018. Their president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic set the example in recognizing great sportsmanship in the competition and in her own team. She embraced the championship cup holders as warmly as she embraced her own team. Following suit, the French president Emmanuel Macron also embraced each of the Croatian athletes.
The world witnessed a moment of connection as rain-soaked heads of states hugged sweat-soaked athletes, regardless of whether they held the prized cup or not.
Grabar-Kitarovic’s honorable stance at the award ceremony changed the way the French public views the Croatian team.
There is one world cup winner. AND, there are no loser. Everyone stands tall after the match.
What power-struggle in your life can we transform into a no-lose situation? Contact me to implement such a transition.
If your birthday gets celebrated at work it probably looks, tastes, or smells like
a box of chocolates,
an invitation for drinks,
a bouquet of flowers, or
a bottle of whisky.
It’s nice…yet is that what they really desire?
Studies abound highlighting the link between quality performance and recognition of a job well done and a sense of belonging to a team. Why not offer a gift that truly matters for your colleague?
Offer the Gift of Listening
We all have feedback to give and many of us wonder how and when to express it. When it comes to sharing an insight with hierarchy, the time never seems right.
Make it easy for your team member and offer them openness to their viewpoint. Seriously, present it as a gift.
One CEO invites the employees with birthdays in that month to join her for lunch. It’s their time to ask her questions about the company.
Another manager schedules a one-on-one meeting with two agenda items:
one behavior the team member appreciates in the manager and that he hopes the manager will continue doing
one behavior the team member finds challenging. They discuss a specific time this behavior occurred, and the employee expresses what he would have preferred as an outcome.
Be the Gift – Offer to Help THEIR WAY
I am regularly asked to help unblock relationship challenges and one of the common culprits is assumptions.
To assume makes an A.S.S. out of U and ME
– my brother
To assume makes an A.S.S. out of U and ME. Like when we assume our team member wants our advice…when, really, those wise words sound like a command (yet another one).
Or when you do your colleague a favor and your efforts are not appreciated to their “just value.” Maybe he really wanted the manager to stop interrupting him with busywork so that he could complete the task himself.
If you want to be a gift, let your colleague choose how. “I notice the deadline is approaching and there still is much to do. How can I help? It’s your birthday. Ask whatever.”
(re)Celebrate a Success on the
Million $ Birthday Chair
“Effective managers build on strengths.”
– Peter Drucker
Relive a Success
Are you too looking for ways to get big bang out of less time, energy, and funds? The Birthday Chair does it every year. For less than $1, the birthday person feels like $1 Million!
Give them an opportunity to relive a moment when they succeeded and were proud of themselves. Designate a chair as the Birthday Chair and decorate it if you lifke. Then, together, discuss one of their achievement, focusing on
the feelings generated by the success
the conditions that contributed to the achievements
This is a powerful tool to encourage employees and allow them to connect with the purpose of their work.
It can seem out of place to revisit an “old” event. That’s where the Birthday Chair can create the occasion. It’s a moment that is out of the ordinary.
Explore Success with all the Senses
I like to focus on each of the senses when reliving a success. It’s like adding muscle and tissue to a skeleton. The achievement comes to life in multiple dimensions and feeds the desire to achieve further.
Here is an example of helping a team member revisit their great presentation
What did it look like? Team member (TM):“It was motivating to have everyone’s attention and not to have people perched on their phones!”
What did it sound like? TM:“During the Q & A, people asked relevant questions that moved the discussion forward. They were clearly interested.”
What did it feel like?
TM:“I know now that I can overcome the butterflies in my stomach when speaking in public.”
What did it smell like? TM:“Sweat! From now on, I’m keeping a travel size bottle of my fragrance with me to freshen up before making a presentation.”
What did it taste like? TM:“Champagne!”
Uncover the Conditions for Success
You can even dig further to understand the conditions that helped create the success and to explore how these conditions could be replicated.
Recognize their Unique Gift to the Team
When do you discuss your team members’ qualities with them? Usually during the performance review, which is also when people are stressed and wary of critique.
When do you focus on the capabilities you seek to transmit? Try intentionally creating occasions to recognize qualities. Birthdays present an excuse to experiment with a positive approach.
Here is a birthday card offered by the team to one of their colleagues. Each person wrote something they appreciate about the birthday person’s contribution to the group.
We love this big bang for little buck method to make a child feel special and belonged.
We decorate one chair BIG TIME: at least 6 balloons and as many streamers. The chair goes in the middle of the room where the kids (or all ages) gather for the presents. It’s also the throne on which he reigns during the Birthday Story Time.
The Birthday Story Time
Share a story to encourage your child to grow in confidence, character, and responsibility.
What happened the day they were born?
What quality have you observed them develop this past year?
What is a sign of growing confidence?
How have they helped you become a better person or parent?
What do they do that makes you feel loved by them?
When did you feel appreciated at work for your birthday? Share it with us in the comments.