Since developing the seminar I've found multiple uses for the content including helping a colleague assess a major career change and, most recently, using it as an annual personal planning tool which is what I'd like to talk more about. At the beginning of the year many of us embark on some goal to achieve, i.e. lose weight, get a better job, etc. I am an advocate of doing so, with two distinct requirements:
In meeting those two requirements, this year I decided to look at my life from the vantage point of each of the eight drivers of contentment and come up with 1-2 items that I would be content with achieving by the end of the year. I have more aggressive goals in some areas and less in others. The point isn't to try to work myself to death trying to achieve a hyper-aggressive goal that deep down I know I won't be able to meet; it's being realistic about what I think I'd like and need to achieve.
To help you in your planning, I've included a simple Excel spreadsheet that you can use to help you in your planning using my eight drivers of contentment with my compliments. The spreadsheet contains four columns; I've included an example entry for "Health Contentment":
As you embark on your goal setting journey remember to keep a few things in mind:
Lastly, while this can be an effective tool to help you develop good goals, at the end of the day it's only a tool. You've got to take action and be disciplined to achieve the goals you set out to do.
I'd love to hear about your journey; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's to a contented and happy new year!
I’m a huge fan of sausages. Whether it be Italian, bratwurst, chorizo, kielbasa, or andouille, I love the seasoning and the snap of the casing when you bite into it. Now I know that the stuff that goes into sausage is of the most undesirable parts of the animal including organs, guts, head, and other parts that I prefer not to think about. I have never had the opportunity to see sausage being made, and as a matter of principle; I don’t want to because I know I’d be grossed out and it would ruin my appetite each time I enjoyed a banger. I choose to remain blissfully ignorant about the sausage making process.
Recently I ran across a situation that reminded me of leaders needing to delegate responsibility while remaining engaged with what the team is doing. At one of my former employers we had a particularly thorny issue which required multiple groups to work together to address. It was important that I delegate resolution of the issue to the team, but it was also important that the team had a glimpse into some of my thinking on the issue. When I delegated the issue to one of my managers for resolution, I also articulated some guiding principles that the team needed to keep in mind while resolving the issue. What this allowed me to do was not only provide some considerations for the team to noodle over while coming up with a resolution to the issue but also empower the team to make the decision as to what to do about the issue.
Recently I had an interesting interaction on LinkedIn. A young man from a financial services company asked to connect with me, which I accepted. He immediately sent me a message asking to meet for coffee to conduct a personal financial review, and told me his other customers were VERY (yes he “e-yelled” VERY) satisfied with the work he did. Aside from the fact that I’m satisfied with my existing financial advisor, I have a bit of a problem with someone on LinkedIn pitching me right after connecting. I replied with a simple “No Thanks.”
A few days later he responded back thanking me and asking why I declined. I had to decide whether to just ignore his question or respond. I looked at his profile and decided that he really wanted to know and that I could help him with his connect à pitch technique. I told him that I thought his trying to sell me right after connecting was disingenuous; that he didn’t take any time to learn about me and didn’t try to develop any rapport points. He then responded with “When did I try to sell you?” I told him that asking to do a personal financial review and telling me his other customers were VERY satisfied felt like he was pitching me. He then responded with “When did I ask to review your personal finances?” At this point I was curious as to where this was going, so I did a copy/paste from his original message that asked to do a personal financial review. This is where it got really interesting. He responded with the following:
“I never asked you to share your personal financial information online. It was a simple yes or no question. Most nice people on LinkedIn are happy to meet up with me for a chat over coffee. At this point I’ll pass on my offer to meet with you. Best of luck to you in the future.”
I read his message, partly amused, partly shocked. I thought it interesting how he inserted the word “online” in his response (which was never mentioned before), how it was a simple yes or no question (which I answered with a simple no), how nice people are happy to meet up with him (I guess I’m on his naughty list now), and how he’ll pass on his offer to meet up (kind of felt like “You can’t break up with me, I’m breaking up with you first”). He did put a “Best of luck to you in the future” tag on the end to pretend to be professional, but it wasn’t enough to prevent me from blocking him.
I mused over this interaction and decided to call one of my expert sales authors, Nikki Rausch, to get her take on what happened. I told her the story and after saying, “Thanks for making my day,” she confirmed that this was a textbook example of a disingenuous sales interaction. While I was pleased that I didn’t totally misread things, the consultant in me hoped the fellow would have used the feedback as a teachable moment. He asked for feedback, didn’t like it, then told me I wasn’t nice. He did give me one gift; great content for an article 😊.
My one takeaway for you is this: if you’re going to ask for feedback, be prepared to get feedback that you may not agree with. That doesn’t mean you have to act on the feedback. I made it clear to the fellow that my job was to tell him what I thought, his was to decide what to do with it. He could have just said “Thank you, Lonnie,” and went on his way. He took the additional step to not only ignore the feedback but try to prove me wrong and subsequently insult me. He never considered the position he was putting me in. I could have simply ignored his request for feedback, but I thought he really wanted to know why I didn’t want to meet up. Turns out he didn’t give a rat’s tail about what I thought. It was all about him. You can add the words “lack of grace and maturity” to disingenuous when I think of this person. I may forget his name, but I will always remember the company he works for. That company will never get my business.
Asking for feedback doesn’t mean you have to act on it. By all means, if you don’t understand feedback, ask clarifying questions to help you decide what to do with it. But don’t insult the person you asked; they don’t deserve it.
Secrets of success? Oh puh-leeze. There aren't any secrets of success in my opinion. Success is achieved through things that we've been taught to do for years and years. Good old-fashioned hard work is one of your strongest foundations to ensure meeting your life goals. In addition, building the following pillars on the foundation of hard work will increase the likelihood that you can meet those goals and achieve your dreams. Check out these four pillars and see if any resonate with you:
A couple of years ago I did an interview on what a manager can do to regain trust when he or she has screwed up royally. I thought the points were particularly pertinent to many of my subscribers so I thought I'd print excerpts from the interview here:
Over the years I have been on both ends of constructive (and not so constructive) criticism. Quite frankly, I still struggle with doing this flawlessly every time, but I've put together some guiding principles that I try to work under and thought might be helpful to you:
When I wrote my first book in 2004 my publicist told me, "you've got to write articles to get your message out and sell books!" Being a good soldier I saluted and contemplated how I was going to get it done. My publicist turned me on to a ghost writer who wrote an article under my guidance. After paying way too much for the article and seeing the finished product, I vowed never again to have someone else write for me. I decided that if I had crappy articles it was going to be because I was the one who wrote them, not because I paid someone to write crappy articles for me.
When I wrote my first article, I decided on the topic and just started writing. It was a disaster. The content was disjointed, lacked focus, and made no sense. It also took me hours and hours to produce a piece of garbage. There had to be a better way. Fortunately I found it after a lot of trial and error.
It's happening more and more; managers are being asked to manage virtual teams of people that may or may not have a direct reporting relationship to the manager. Some find it easy to do, but many others find it difficult to garner the respect from team members who don't have to follow the manager. Get a few helpful tips to help you next time you're asked to manage a virtual team.
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