Archives for category: Leadership

The other evening in the dusk of a summer night I ran with my dog. As I took in the familiar sites of natural beauty along a favorite stretch of hilly road, I noted how my pup wasn’t quite the spastic fella he once was. It struck me that his six years resulted in our matching of our paces. (O.K., so I also noted how the distance and speed of my runs had also diminished in most recent years – which had nothing to do with my dog!)

They say you measure one dog’s year as being equivalent to seven human years. So basically, my dog and I were the same age! I smiled as I watched him plod along in front of me up a steep hill; both of us determined to keep going. “I wonder what his pace will be a year from now when he’s nearing 50 in human years, “ I thought as we trudged along.

I did a bit of mental math as I continued his age progression in a few more “dog years.” That didn’t last long. (Partly, I can hardly do math in my head when I’m sitting – and running didn’t aid my numbers sense!) I quit doing age progressions in my head of, “So in three years I will be ___ age, which means my dog will be ___ years old in people years.”

What if in one year’s time everything about my life equaled seven years from now – like it was fast-tracked and seven years passed all within an actual 365-day year?

The thought that in three years’ time my dog would age as much as 21 years in my life wasn’t something I want to think about. I love my dog and hate the thought of him not being able to go for runs with me because he’s too slow or that it’s too hard on his body. So I made what I thought was a wise choice and thought about next summer and how, Lord willing, he and I should both be a bit older but still be able to enjoy a summer’s evening run like now.

“What if my life’s years were measured in “dog years”?” I mused. What if in one year’s time everything about my life equaled seven years from now – like it was fast-tracked and seven years passed all within an actual 365-day year?”  I pondered that for a bit.

I wondered, “Would I change the way I lived these next 12 months if I knew that in a year my body would be seven years older, even though my life expectancy hadn’t been extended? If I knew that a year from now it would be as if seven years had passed, and my daughter would not be sophomore in college but would be into her life beyond college, and my son would not be a sophomore in high school, but would be in the middle of his college years – would that change how I lived this next year?”

How much more purposeful would I be with the gift of each day God blessed me with if it was “seven times” more valuable (as far as my finite mind can contrive) than normal? By living my Work-Life Balance Roadmap with diligence, I was pleased to feel at peace that I’m on track with each important “destination” in my life. Because of years of diligence in those important areas of my life, I didn’t freak out with a sense of panic that if seven years passed during the next 12 months that I’d find myself someplace I didn’t intend to be.

But these thoughts of living my life in dog’s years did make me assess the question, “If the passage of these next 12 months equaled the passage of seven human years, what would change in the way I lived life?” Col. 3:17 came to mind. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

I think what would change for me would be the intensity of focus of purpose of each day. If I was involved doing what I believed were the “right” activities, pursuits, relationships, and use of time, then the question would become, “Am I doing these things and spending each moment as truly unto Jesus with a thankful heart?”

If this next year of your life was equivalent to a dog-year, or to put it a different way – if the passage of these next 12 months equaled the passage of seven human years, what would change in the way you lived life?

By Dr. Heidi Scott, Speaker, Coach, Consultant to Leaders, Teams, and Organizations

www.LearningPursuits.com   Book Chapter “Charting Your Course Toward Work-Life Balance” coming in the soon to be released book Roadmap to Success        ISBN 978-1-60013-664-1

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Generally 30-plus year-olds’ answer to this question is no longer, “A fireman, NFL player, Professional Dancer, or Mountain Climber.” No, typically mid-life folks answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with another question: “Shouldn’t I be past this?!

Today’s languishing economy forces the continued quest for better work, more secure and/or profitable work, or simply the quest for a job. While this often feels problematic for those in this current workforce, it could be worse.

Consider the workforce generations surrounding the Great Depression compared to now. People then were forced to leave their “professions” – but fortunately, today we think less of our work as a profession we are tied to for life. Today it is the norm to switch careers multiple times before hitting age 30. Change is seen as a way of life. The ability to adapt to change is often seen as the criterion that sets people up for success as they navigate their careers.

Career Choices Abound as a Way of Life

So facing issues related to the work people really want to do seem to be a very normal fabric of our society. Each week I encounter people wrestling with questions about their next best career moves. I hear people eagerly initiating conversations centered on strategic business building steps to grow their business.

Here are 4 coaching tips to guide you if you face the internal (and often haunting) question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” – regardless of your age!

1. Passion over Position – What aspects of certain work stirs your heart’s emotions and drives up your energy levels? I’m not talking about a position or title. What parts can you articulate of certain work you have done or that you think would be great to be a part of? Those passions are things to look for in whatever work you seek or do.

2. Pursue Personal Springboards – How can you tweek your current (or past) work into a springboard for future opportunities? What can you be capturing now to build your personal portfolio that may help you demonstrate the value you can bring to an organization in the future?

3. Attitude Brings Latitude – How can you find contentment in whatever space (whether mentally or physically) you are at currently? What is a positive spin you can put on 3 things today in your work life (or quest for work)? Attitudes are infectious. Develop your ability to find and focus on positives – even when the poison of the negatives appear much more readily! Become the positive mindset that employers want to infect their workforce.

4. Navigate the Networking Niche – There is great value in asking those you value, “Who do you know that you think I’d like to know as I … [grow my business, look for work, etc.]? Good-willed people enjoy connecting people. Who do you know and respect in some capacity that you can connect with about whom they can introduce you to? Make those conversations occur.

In today’s economy and in our current generations, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is one that is cyclically answered throughout life! Change is a constant; adaptability and learning agility are a must.

By Dr. Heidi Scott   – The Leader’s Consultant, Speaker, Trainer & Coach  http://www.LearningPursuits.com

Have you ever?

Leadership Artform: Asking the “right” questions to discover passion & increase motivation & engagement

A. Have you ever seen a team of individuals who brought an uncanny zest and zeal to their work? Have you witnessed a team of people who work together toward a clear and specific goal where every person is skilled, trained, AND loves their role? Have you ever been able to sit back and watch the focused intensity of people engaged in work where their passions are stirred and relied upon? OR
B. Have you ever watched a team of individuals come together (or work independently) with a lethargic, “Eeyore complex” as they approached a work project? Have you ever witnessed people moving through the motions of work with little interest or care for the process or results of their contributions?

Generally, people are drawn toward organizations, teams, and work groups where an innate synergy reveals itself in many intangible yet very real ways. I know I would want to engage in work with a group described above in the A. scenario.

We gravitate to work where we are valued. We are drawn toward leaders (employers, managers, team leaders) who demonstrate a desire to know us and our strengths and our passions – and then value these things in us and put them to work.

Most good-willed people desire to contribute to their work in meaningful and important ways. And most often, when we are working in our “passion zone” we bring our best selves to work and contribute in ways that add exceedingly great value to the end result and bottom line.

So as leaders, how do we motivate the people we lead?

Authenticity – it rings true. As leaders we need to know that inauthentic behavior, when we do not do what we say is important, can be spotted in us a mile away by those we lead. So before we can say, “Yeah, I want to get the most and best work out of those I lead…if helping them find their passion will allow me to leverage their passion which equates to better output and performance…show me how to do that!” we need to look at what drives US. As leaders, we need to self-reflect and understand our own passions. We need to work to incorporate our passions in our work.

When we possess authenticity in living our passions in our work, and when we find new levels of motivation in our work because our passions are involved, then we are at a place where we can authentically work with our team members to bring out the best of who they are. Only then are we able to enter into some informal coaching conversations where our role centers on asking the right questions of our team members.

4 Keys to Motivating Your Team Members
1. Know your passion. What drives you? What aspects of work do you love? What comes naturally and somewhat easily to you? What makes you respond internally with thoughts of, “I love doing this kind of work!”? More than money, what intrinsic passion is part of who you are that motivates you in your work? Think less about specific tasks and more about the common theme of overarching concepts. For example, it is less about, “Boy, do I sure love to write quarterly reports!” and more about, “I sure love hunting and searching for all of the detail needed to put together a complete and accurate quarterly report!”
2. Fuel your fire. How can you incorporate your unique passion in your work? What parts of your current responsibilities require you to use your passion? Can you begin to do more of those things? What might a conversation with your boss sound like where you communicate what that magical blend of work for you is where your passion is tapped into and you execute with excellence? (What manager doesn’t want to see his or her team members execute with excellence?!) How can you mentally focus on the fun involved in your work where your passion area is utilized?
3. Help others discover their passions. Often, when we approach conversations with someone about their passions, our skill has nothing to do with us having the right answers; our skill resides in asking the right questions. For example, some of the following may help someone begin to connect the dots of their experiences and begin to discover their passions. What 3-4 events or projects do you remember working in that you loved? What about your work on each of those projects sticks out to you? Can you describe one type of responsibility you would like to be tasked with in your current work? How can you describe aspects of that responsibility that resonate with you? Can you articulate now (or think on in the coming days) what 3-4 things you know you need in your work to bring out your best contributions? As you think about your past top three work-related projects, which would you say stirred your passion? We must remember that the individual we are communicating with holds the keys to discovering and articulating their passion. When they “own” this discovery, they generally begin to create ideas on how to involve their areas of passion in their work.
4. Motivate your people to work with excellence as their passions are leveraged. The great thing about this step is that as a leader, you do not have to “do” much in driving the motivation of your team members when you help them tap into their areas of passion. Once you and your team members have gained clarity on their passions, then together you begin to craft ways to incorporate their passion into their work. What ideas can you come up with as to how your passion may be more tapped into in your work? A simple question like this invites freedom and responsibility on the team member to think outside the box regarding how personal passions can be intertwined in work. Sometimes this may involve a shift of responsibilities. However, more often it involves you as a leader acknowledging the passions of each valuable and skilled team member, and then providing a bit of flexibility and encouragement for each person to utilize their passion in ways that may have not been recognized before.

I LOVE people development. I know that when I am able to help others discover their passions and then design plans to better incorporate those areas of passion into their lives and work – that is when I am at my best. This personal passion of mine to develop people and help them contribute to work and life in ways that resonate with the core of who they are connects to my other passion of helping teams improve their performance.

If you are a leader who wants to discover how to first, find and leverage your own passions to improve work performance, and then learn how to help your team members to do this, I would love to help! Shifting a work culture to a coaching culture may be a large-scale change. Because managing this type of culture change is what I do, I would love the opportunity to assist you with this.

Dr. Heidi Scott, the Leader’s Coach http://www.LearningPursuits.com