Changing is Hard; Not Changing is Worse

As a leadership development coach, I’ve found that the strongest leaders don’t resist change, they embrace it. But they also know that changing their own behavior can be a monumental challenge. They realize that if they don’t change/adapt they will become “stuck in their ways.” And you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who considers that a positive attribute of a leader!

Being Ready to Change

In a recent article in the New Yorker magazine, I came across a great article by Joshua Rothman entitled “Are You the Same Person You Used to Be?” He states that “becoming you in some cases means embracing a drama of vulnerability, decision, and transformation; it may also involve a refusal to accept the finitude that’s the flip side of individuality.”

This struck me by its simplicity and truth. Evolving means being vulnerable enough to realize that a current behavior doesn’t serve you anymore. You have to be ready to change. In contrast, being dogmatic and stubborn so that you hold onto this behavior usually doesn’t work out well in the long run.

Determining Why You Need to Change

But changing is not for the lighthearted. Not only does it take time but it requires that you look at things, and yourself, differently. You may need to lean on those around you for honest feedback…and be ready to receive it, even when they reveal something about yourself you don’t want to admit.

I’ve realized this through my own transformation.

Some twenty years ago, seven of my closest friends vehemently said that I often talked too much. If memory serves, I balked at this notion! I believed myself to be an excellent and effective communicator. But they were insistent. And that was the crucial moment…right then, I had to decide if I was going act on their feedback or disregard it and remain the way I was. There was something in their passion for my growth that drove me to accept their direction. I recall saying to myself, “Well, if enough people call you a horse, buy a saddle!”

Since then, I’ve concentrated on being concise in my speaking and writing. I’ve also enjoyed the transformed state I’ve gotten to from this advice as it has allowed me to listen more intently and purposely. And as you know…I am consistently stressing that my clients  listen first before they start selling or convincing.

So my advice to you is this…reflect on something you’d like to change.  Begin your transformative journey by sharing your desire with a few committed friends (and me, if you wish!). Listen to how they respond. And then get into action so that you have a plan that will make this change permanent. Ultimately, you will have to work at it and it may not come easy. But as they say, most good things in life never are.

Enjoy your journey.

Managing Summer Time

Summer is a season of vacations, beaches, time with family and other distractions. However, you’ve still got business to manage and clients to satisfy. Perhaps more than any other time of the year, summer presents time management challenges for you and your team. It’s up to you to make sure work gets done. Here are some time management tips to help.

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Seven Reasons to Change!

As you grow as a leader, you will change, whether you like it or not! How you change and the impact that has on your development, your team and you future is up to you. Sometimes, the changes are requested by others who see your potential, even if you don’t. I work with many people in this capacity. Here’s a quick video where I explain why YOU wanting to change is the first, most important step:

7 Reasons to Change

There are a lot of reasons to change. Here are seven that I’ve found can be strong motivators:

  1. Someone, or some people believe in you: you’ve got a team of people who see more in you than you might see.
  2. Trust people who care about you, beyond your own opinion: the person who desires this program for you wants to contribute to you, don’t get in their way.
  3. Be grateful versus critical with this opportunity: WAY too many of us are not grateful often enough. An executive development program is an investment in your growth, not a scarlet letter, ever.
  4. Think about how many executives and potential peers of yours will never will get this chance/investment in them?: think about this, there are people around you who may have plateaued and have been passed by, don’t let this happen to you.
  5. You can’t do it alone: it takes a village to demonstrably change behaviors. It must be done carefully and professionally.
  6. It’s not about being right with your current behavior, its about being effective as an executive who can lead others.
  7. It’s healthy to stretch yourself: there will always be something to get better at, seize the opportunity now.

Use these reasons to be straight with yourself regarding what might be thwarting your adventure and how these could impact your growth as a leader.

Want to discuss changes you want to make? Contact me at 

3 Tips for Changing Jobs…On Your Terms

Spring brings about many changes that are apparent all around us. It is a time for the earth to make a fresh start as winter becomes a distant memory. For many, it’s a time for contemplating their career and assessing whether where they are today is where they want to be for the long-term future. Several will decide that a new path is needed. But making a career change can be daunting.

At a certain point in your career, you reach a place of mastery in your field. You can also simultaneously reach a plateau. While you’re eager to remain challenged, the actual work you’re doing, well, it just isn’t doing it for you anymore.

Intuitively your spirit says its time to move on. But to where?

BEFORE you make a break from your organization review these three actions to take:

Define Your Reputation

Think about how you want people to view you as you re-enter the marketplace. What four adjectives should people use to describe you professionally? Bounce them off a few trusted people to see if they really capture your reputation. They might surprise you with attributes you didn’t know you had. Regardless, it is essential that you understand the reputation you want to put forth so that your new employer will see you as such.

Remember What You’ve Enjoyed Doing

Really think about this. No one enjoys EVERY aspect of their job. However, focusing on key elements with which you’ve had success in the past will help ensure that you land a position that will have you jumping out of bed in the morning. Life is too short to do work you don’t enjoy fully so, take this time to remember what you like to do and then find work that allows you to do it.

Make It Real

To back up your reputation, find three experiences from your career that highlight your acumen and expertise. What challenges were there? What did you conceive to solve these challenges and how did each play out? Make sure you complete each experience by saying, “what this required was…” Say this to link your professional skills to the result you catalyzed. Don’t make them connect the dots…do it for them.

Take your time choosing a new position or career path. The work you put into determining what job you really want, and then going out and finding it, will pay off in many ways. Use these tips to help. Give me a call if you need more guidance. And let me know how it goes!

To Get The Job…Get Noticed, Get Passionate

HIRE ME! Unfortunately, that’s the basis of communication for most career searches at any level. Rarely do I see anyone impart an understanding of the position and how the opportunity is important to them. Here are some tips for standing out among the masses and relating to your (future) new boss.

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Job Interviewing Tips: Just Like a Sales Call

Coaching my niece in succeeding with her job search is an important mission and one I take quite seriously. As I coached her, I realized how similar her job interview is to a sales call. Think about it; you have to establish a climate of interest and enthusiasm, ask insightful questions and present yourself (i.e. what you are selling) as the solution. In my 20+ years of leadership development, I often coach people through a job transition as they prepare to interview. Here are a few of my key interviewing strategies.

Learn Their Goals

With both a sales call and a job interview, it’s critical that you know what the company’s issues are so that you can present your solutions. In the case of an interview, YOU are the solution. When speaking with your potential employer, discern what your interviewer’s major goal is for the position by asking questions such as:

  • What is essential for the organization this year?
  • What is mission critical for this position to make that happen?
  • How would you define success in this position?

Discover the Challenges

Every job, and every customer, has challenges. When applying for a job, you need to be confident that your skills can help the company overcome those challenges. Otherwise, why would they hire you? Just like with a sales call, if you don’t know what challenges the company is facing, how can you possibly know if you are the right person to find a solution? Find out what “keeps them up at night” by asking these questions:

  • What challenges is the company facing?
  • What solutions have you tried without success?
  • What must the organization achieve by year end to overcome them?
  • What do you see as the biggest challenge for this position?

Demonstrate Understanding, Then Solutions

In an interview, it’s important that you demonstrate you understand the company and it’s key issues. When you restate what you’ve learned in the interview, it shows that you have been listening and comprehending what you have been told. This is when you start selling yourself as someone who can help.  Don’t rush to provide your solutions before you make sure you understand the problems. Present yourself and skills too soon and, you could find yourself talking about skills that don’t apply to the company’s situation. Play the stated goals and challenges back to your interviewer to prove you’ve heard them and are tuned in to their plight. You then get to tailor your comments about your solutions directly in line with what your interviewer most desires for the position.

By the close of business that day, send your thank you email to your potential employer, repeating their goals and challenges to further illustrate your alignment with them. Then remind them of your conversation about your solutions and your confidence in how you can help move their company forward.

Try it and let me know how it goes! I wish you great success!

There’s No Entitlement in Business

In one infamous scene in the movie “A League of Their Own,” Tom Hanks’ girls baseball manager character is shocked to see one of his players weeping after he has scolded her for making a bad play. “Are you crying? Are you….crying? There’s no crying in baseball!”

Right!  And there is no entitlement in business. Only achievement.

You’re Only as Good as Your Last Performance

In a post 2008 world, all of us need to heed this realization. I especially recommend my millennial clients pay attention. Times are tough out there still. And though stories of the economic recovery are in our papers every day, you probably still have many friends and relatives not employed.  We need to keep in mind that often in our new world we’re only as good as our last performance to the organizations and company brass for whom we work. There are people out there hungry to have your job…and they’ll work hard to get it.

Plan Your Success

Therefore, to understand your advancement, create your own development/advancement plan with your superior.

I’m sure the person you report to has their own metrics they will employ to determine your advancement. Job #1 for you, though, is to understand these metrics and discuss them with him/her so that you are clear about what your path looks like. Once you have an understanding of this path, you can then shape your own developmental recommendations given your unique added value to the organization.  You can put forth your ideas of your achievement from the understanding of your superior’s ideas. Then, you both own your development plan without any ambiguity. Now you have a clear scorecard on which to concentrate throughout the year to advance.

So, develop your success plan.  Get buy-in from your superior with goals based on clear metrics. Show progress on that plan by hitting milestones. And then…when you’re confident you have achieved the goals, ask for the promotion. Remember…you won’t get it if you don’t ask!  Good luck. Let me know how it goes. If you need help with your plan, give me a call.