Articles in Category: All Posts

Random Acts of Kindness and Influence

Written by Michelle Braden, CEO Posted in Blog, All Posts

I was recently at one of my favorite coffee shops, grabbing a cup of coffee, before hitting the road for a long drive. The shop was unusually busy that morning, which was not that big of a deal, other than that it took a long time and I was in a hurry.

I was having a great time "people-watching", as several of us waited with baited breath for our morning cup of joe. There was one woman in particular that stood out to me. We didn't speak to each other nor did I observe her talking to anyone else. She stood out to me because she had a sense of peace about her.

About the time I was trying to figure out what is was about her that made me feel this way, my drink was called and I was snapped out of my trance. I reached for my drink to discover it was very hot. I looked around but there was no sleeve for my cup, went to the condiment counter… no sleeves there either. I even tried to get a worker’s attention, again, to no avail. I was scurrying around looking for a cup sleeve and noticed this woman was watching me. I smiled and said, “I am trying to find a sleeve for my coffee… it is really hot.” She smiled back and that was that. I decided to give up the search for a sleeve and run to the restroom to wash my hands before leaving.

I left my coffee on the table right outside the restroom. When I came out, the lady was gone, but next to my cup of coffee, was a sleeve for my coffee. In that moment, my heart was warmed by the kindness of a stranger…. Nothing major, it didn’t even cost her anything, but it was just thoughtful.

I walked to my car and could not stop thinking about how such a little gesture brought so much joy to my hectic morning. Kindness is “indulgent, considerate or helpful.”1 This lady was all of these things. She was also being something else she didn’t even realize. She was being influential. Influential means “the act of producing effects on the actions, behaviors or opinions of others.” In that moment, and for the rest of the day, the kindness of a stranger influenced me to want to share kindness with others. I focused on just that for the rest of the day. In fact, she influenced me so much, I am writing this blog about it.

What about you? Have you ever had someone do something simple for you that had lasting impact – a random act or gesture of kindness? As leaders, it is important for us to remember the value in simple, arbitrary acts of kindness and the long-term effects they have to influence others.

Mental Tattoo: Set a Date for Success

Written by Barbara Higgins Posted in Blog, All Posts

I love the mystery of how the brain solves puzzles. One day a problem can be so complex that you can’t see your way through…then suddenly after a good night’s sleep, a new idea appears and a whole new view presents a solution. What was insurmountable yesterday, falls neatly into place today. Personally, I love how this gives me hope that (and an excuse for) a good night’s sleep.

So, when I heard the idea of a mental tattoo, I loved it! The concept came from a website that I stumbled on called Paid to Exist, by Jonathan Mead. To give yourself a mental tattoo, you set a date for when you will accomplish something. Just write it down on your calendar. It’s a mark, a commitment on your calendar to complete something. By making this simple action, you tell your brain to start thinking about the steps to accomplish that commitment. By setting a mark, your brain actually continues to work in the background, to solve the challenge of how to get it done. How cool is that?

So many of my “to do” list items are really looking for a date to happen. They never get written down, never find a home in a busy schedule. I wonder if this might work for me. I plan to try two types of mental tattoos. First, one of those annoying things that I keep meaning to do and never get done. Ugh. But maybe that will move it off the list. Second, I want to put a big life-size challenge on my list. Something aspirational that I want to accomplish in a year. What comfort there might be in knowing that I could look at a calendar a year from now and have accomplished something I thought was insurmountable. Could it work? Well if I don’t give it a try, it’s probably not getting done. So, what have I got to lose?

When I was in college, our basketball coach had us lay on the floor and visualize the ball going in the basket. He cited a study that proved this type of visual exercise measurably improved shooting percentages. At the time, I just chuckled... and my dismal shooting percentage did not improve.

More and more, I think life is about believing you can… and you will. So, today I’m writing something on my calendar for a year from now…with a smile on my face. A mental tattoo-- give it a try.

To Lead or to Manage? OR TO LEAD AND MANAGE!

Written by Michelle Braden, CEO Posted in White Papers, All Posts

 

There is an ongoing debate about the differences and definitions of leader and manager and many are striving to identify which is better. The bottom line is, organizations need both leaders and managers in order to be successful. In fact, the more "lean" organizations become, the more we will see leaders who need to be able to manage and managers who need to be able to lead.

One of the mistakes that have been made is trying to make management and leadership independent of one another. The truth is they are both dependent upon one another for a company's profits as well as their people's success.

 leadmanage

Does What I do Make me Who I Am?

Written by Michelle Braden, CEO Posted in Blog, All Posts

Here in America we define ourselves and those around us by what we do. Think about the first question we ask after introducing ourselves…. “So where do you work?” and “what do you do there?” In part, this is good small talk. We naturally ask these questions in succession. The other part has to do with sizing people up. We determine before we even get to know someone whether we think they are successful based on how they answer these questions. Is it any wonder why we personally define ourselves using this same measurement?

This type of stereotyping begs the question many are now facing, what happens when what we “do” is done away with? What happens when companies go bankrupt, jobs are outsourced, people are downsized or laid off? How then will we define ourselves, our friends, colleagues or family members? Although what we do is obviously important, we have to learn a better self-awareness, or who we are “being.” Who we are “being” is who we are, our character, values, beliefs and passions. It is not determined by titles, salary or prestige.

To discover who we really are beyond the titles we hold is a challenge. Think for a minute about who you are…. If I asked you to describe yourself could you do so without talking about what you do? The goal is that who we are being works collaboratively with what we do but it does not define us. I recently asked a client of mine while working through the “being” vs. “doing” question, “how would you respond if you lost your job for one reason or another and the only thing you could find was working at a fast food restaurant wiping down tables?” His answer was the best I have ever gotten. He said, “well I guess I would have to work hard and rise to the top in that industry!” Now that is knowing who you are being no matter what you are doing!

I want to encourage you, whether you are in the most secure position you have ever been in or whether you are having to re-define yourself due to job loss, search yourself to know who you are being in this world.

Here are some suggestions as you go through this process:

  • Be insightfully straight with yourself.
  • What transformations do you want?
  • What are your personal values, passions, beliefs?
  • Write a paper about who you are.
  • Write a paper about who you want to be.
  • Be in your possibilities.
  • Dream!

This can be an eye opening experience if you allow it to be. We would love to hear your feedback on this exercise and if it was beneficial.

Family Road Trip Wisdom:

Written by Barbara Higgins Posted in Blog, All Posts

5 Lessons for your Fall Leadership Planning

August is the summer tradition for road trip vacations in my family…a tribute to the final days of summer before back-to-school and changing to the more structured tempo of fall.  As we pile into the car with more duffle bags, suitcases, and boogie boards than clowns in a Volkswagen Bug, the circus begins.  As with most family adventures, you learn over time the different preparation styles that each person has to be ready to leave.  The “late packer,” the “early packer,” the “everything has to be done before we leave,” the “GPS” versus the “map reader,” each has a different checklist.

Leadership and planning with a group takes similar styles and can benefit from similar preparations to bring the group together in a happy travel plan.  Consider the following five approaches to start on a planning journey that can be fun.

  1. Pick a destination that everyone is excited about – This is the essence of strategy and planning.  If everyone is excited about where you are going, the rest of the details will be much easier to sort out.
  2. Plan your route – There is nothing worse than getting lost at the start!  Annual planning is just that simple.  There is no GPS for business so you have to manually take the time to write down the steps and check your progress.
  3. Set some ground rules – Setting expectations for the process and how the group will operate helps your different planning styles to work together.  Have enough flex in the timeline to accommodate the “late packer” with an extra reminder.
  4. If you get lost, learn something new – Getting lost can either have tempers flaring or provide an opportunity to have some fun.  Similarly, if your goals are going in a different direction or if there is a hurdle you didn’t anticipate, this challenge can be an opportunity.  Remember how many failures ultimately become big successes.  Taking the time to learn a new lesson is a great opportunity.
  5. Pack snacks – In the car, small snacks can be a lifesaver by satisfying an appetite that is off schedule.  In strategy and planning having some progress points can encourage small victories along the way.  In short, it keeps your momentum moving forward.

As you consider your transition to the fall, the timing is great for revisiting your strategic road trip. Take the time for a fall planning retreat.  Thinking about your goals as a team and refresh your plan.  This can make a big difference for your leadership travels.

Consider the experienced resources of MSBCoach to help facilitate your fall planning with the content, coaching, and dynamic tools to generate a great discussion. 

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