5 Steps to Greater Resilience: Recovering from Election Day

6_img1Yesterday was a difficult and emotional day for many Americans.  Regardless of whether you got your way or not, the anger and frustration that has marked this very, very long campaign continued.  Added to it was a fair degree of shock and disbelief.

I admit, I woke up yesterday more depressed than I’ve ever been.  But one thing I have always prided myself on is my resilience.  I feel a lot better today.  A lot more hopeful, a lot more optimistic, back in balance.  How does that happen?

I believe that resilience – that capacity to bounce back – is about the ability to put things in perspective, the sooner the better.  Here are some steps that will help:

  1. Step back. See the situation as an observer instead of a participant.  What do you notice about your own behavior and that of others?   What is it that you like and dislike about it?
  2. Take the high road. Force yourself, if necessary, to behave in accordance with the person you most admire – or you when you are your very best self.  How would that person respond to the situation?
  3. Look at the big picture. Ask yourself how the situation will impact you in the long run.  How will you feel about it three weeks from now, three months from now, three years from now?  If you have trouble with this, try to remember something that troubled you three years ago.
  4. Find the lesson you need to learn. I believe that “if you’re paying attention, each and every experience you have can contribute to who you become as a person.” * What will this experience contribute to your growth and development?
  5. See the humor in the situation. There is always humor – look at how much fun the late night pundits had over the past 18 months. Find something that amuses you, makes you smile or laugh out loud.  Humor is the best medicine.

When you step back, take the high road, see the big picture, you realize there are lessons to be learned and humor to find in almost any situation, no matter how serious.

Practicing resilience is a great preparation for dealing with all the challenges that life presents to you along the way.  We all have them; some of us just bounce back faster than others.  Like anything else, the more you practice it, the easier it gets and the better you get.

“Remember that when you improve, everything around you improves.”  * Your attitude improves, your results improve, your relationships improve.

*  These are quotes from my book, Becoming Deliberate:  Changing the Game of Leadership from the Inside Out.  Do you have your copy yet?  If not, click here to take advantage of free gifts when you purchase.  And, by the way, it makes a great gift too for your favorite leader, aspiring leader or anyone just looking to improve their life.

Where Do You Need More Clarity?

ClarityIn my recent post, Three Ways to Gain More Clarity, I shared some of the easiest ways to improve the level of clarity in your life and in your work.  One reader asked:  How do you know where you need more clarity?  Wow!  What a great question!

As a speaker and a coach, whenever I discuss clarity, I encourage my audience to ask themselves where more clarity is needed.  And I have a few suggestions on where to start.  One of the simplest is this:

What do you want?  It’s surprising how powerful this simple question can be.  Many of us, especially women, spend so much of our time, energy and attention on helping other people get what they want, that we forget to ask ourselves.  In fact, when I ask clients this question, they are usually stumped for a moment or two.  And often, they can more easily say what they don’t want and we have to work backwards from there.  This works very well, by the way.

Why do you want it?  Once you know what, it’s helpful to know the reason behind the what, especially if the “what” requires time, effort, attention or money.  What I’ve noticed, over time, is that, without the why, it becomes easier to give up on the what.  So when the what is important, so is the why.  In fact, I recommend that you ask yourself why multiple times, to get to the real baseline motivation that will help you overcome the inevitable challenges on the way to the what.

Here’s an example of an exchange with a business leader who told me she wanted a promotion. I asked her “why is that important to you?” and continued to ask that same question with each answer she gave me:

  • Because I want more money.
  • Because I want to buy more things.
  • Because I want to have more things.
  • Because that means I am successful.
  • Because I want other people to see me as successful.
  • Because my parents and teachers told me I’d never amount to much.

Once this client realized that she was relying on external sources for her sense of self-esteem and self-worth – once she gained clarity — we were able to re-focus. We worked on identifying the intrinsic value and rewards for the work she was doing, the contributions she was making and the ways she was able to help and support others.

She began to understand that those reasons were far more powerful and far more sustainable as a source of motivation.

Clarity is indeed power, as Buckminster Fuller said.  Once you have clarity, you have a better idea of where you want to go and how to get there. Everything falls into place.

Clarity is so important to success that it’s one of the first topics in my High Performance Coaching Program.  If you want to learn more about how to consistently perform at your best, just click here.

Clarity is also one of the main tools I recommend when I speak on “Hope is Not a Strategy, You Need a Plan: Getting to the Next Level Using the 5C’s.” If you are interested in a keynote – or a workshop – on this topic, just send an email to info@ellisbusinessenterprises.com or, for more information, click here to see my Speaker’s Profile.

#clarity #womenleaders #businessleaders #highperformance



Building Efficiency, Community and Innovation in Your Organization

What are you doing in your organization to encourage efficiency, community, and innovation?  These are the guidelines used at Google in deciding on which People Programs to offer.

I am currently reading Work Rules:  Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock, leader of Google’s people function.  It is certain to make it to my 2016 Favorites List.  (See my favorites from 2014 and 2015).  Though I left my [largely satisfying] corporate career over ten years ago to pursue the dream of having my own business—with no regrets, I admit that I would have loved working for a company like Google.

The commitment to finding the best talent on the planet and to the health, happiness, success and welfare of their people is truly impressive.

I will be writing more about this but today, I want to focus on the aspect of finding no cost or low cost ways to make a difference in the lives of your team.  Here is just one thing in each category that happens at Google that would be easy to implement in your organization:

efficiency - text in 3d blue glass cubes with white letters, business concept

Efficiency:  Recognizing that people work hard all day, only to go home to “another job” related to family or household, Google makes it easier for everyone by bringing vendors on site to provide services like:  haircuts, manicures, dry cleaning, car wash and oil change, bike repair.  Small business owners in the community can be excellent partners to enable this in your company.

Group of Multi-Ethnic Business People Raising Their Hands And Holding Placards That Form Community

Community:  Not only Take Your Child to Work Day, but also Take Your Parent to Work Day!  An opportunity to thank parents for raising amazing kids and to see first hand what their work environment is like and hear from some of their coworkers.  Wow!  I can’t help thinking how much my dad would have loved to visit with some of my bosses.

InnovationInnovation:  Talks @Google is an opportunity to hear from authors, thought leaders and other luminaries on subjects as broad as your imagination.  These talks are on video and uploaded to YouTube to the benefit of everyone, so this also includes an element of community-building.

These are great ideas and others outside these themes are added “just because it’s the right thing to do.”  For my favorite example of this, read this article:  Here’s What Happens to Google Employees When They Die.

 These examples may or may not work in your organization.  The most important thing to realize here is that these are largely the result of suggestion from Googlers.  And Google makes a point of trying to say yes to its Googlers.

There’s more to come on what I’m learning from this amazing company and for now, I’d love to hear your thoughts – or your ideas of what your organization is doing to increase efficiency, community and innovation.

#efficiency #community #innovation #leadership #peopleprograms #google #workrules







How Women are Changing the FACE of Leadership

WomensDayToday is International Women’s Day and an opportunity to reflect on the unique contribution of women and certainly to reach out and acknowledge and thank the women who have made a difference in your life or career or business.

Since I often get asked how women are changing the face of leadership, today seemed like the right time to write about it.  I used the acronym FACE.

F = Freedom and Flexibility.  Women are free to pursue their own unique path through life and make the required trade offs—and with far less judgment from others than was the case when I was “growing up” in business.  This, in turn, has resulted in greater flexibility for men and women in choosing the roles they are best suited for at home and at work.  We’re OK with the dads who want to stay home to raise the kids and the moms who need to work.  It took awhile to get here and lots of women pushing that agenda.

A = Acknowledgement, Acceptance and Advocacy.  Women have been acknowledged as effective leaders, albeit with a distinctly different style than men.  That style is marked by increased empathy and greater participation—and let’s face it, that’s good for everyone.  We now accept women in leadership positions and it’s not so unusual any more; in fact, there are many women and men who are advocates for more parity and more equality – in pay, in executive leadership and on boards.  We will have a long way to go but the issue has far more awareness and far more support than ever before.

C = Collaboration.  Having been excluded in the past, women are more inclined to be inclusive and to gain ideas and insights from a variety of perspectives, leading to greater collaboration.  The ability to collaborate effectively has become one of the most significant requirements in working in today’s complex, fast-paced, global business world.  Women are naturals at this.

E = Expectations, Excellence, Empathy, Encouragement.  Lots of E words work here. We see rising expectations of what women can contribute, while they raise the overall level of excellence.  And their leadership style is often marked by greater empathy for others and encouragement for continuous improvement, overcoming obstacles, mistakes and failures to ultimately succeed.

True, there are still many challenges that women face on the way to gaining parity in leadership numbers—and compensation.  But today is a day to pause and reflect on the progress.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

#women #leadership #internationalwomensday


How to Increase Team Accountability

Time for Accountability words on a clock face showing importance of taking responsibility for your actions or work

As a leader, knowing how to increase accountability among your team members is an important ability.

Members of cohesive, high-performing teams hold one another accountable, and they don’t rely on the leader to do so. Asking the leader to be the primary source of accountability is really inefficient and it breeds politics besides.

It is far more effective when team members go directly to one another and give frank, honest feedback.

How do you establish this kind of peer-to-peer accountability?  It is actually part of the continuum of building a cohesive, high-performing team, and there are three prerequisites to achieve this level of accountability:

  1. There needs to be a high level of trust among team members. This means they must be willing to be transparent and honest with one another, willing to openly admit mistakes, ask for help, and apologize easily.
  2. Team members must be willing and able to engage in constructive conflict. This includes open, unfiltered passionate debate about issues and ideas of importance to the team and organization. Only team members who truly trust each other are able to do this well.
  3. The ability to achieve commitment. Once team members have had an opportunity to share their different ideas and opinions without reservation, they are far more likely to buy in to a collective decision.

When everyone on the team is committed to a clear plan of action, they will be more willing to hold one another accountable.  Embracing this level of accountability will lead to bigger and better results in your organization. And as a leader, this level of teamwork makes your job easier and more enjoyable.

If you’d like to learn more about building a cohesive high performing team in your organization, join me for my upcoming webinar:  Teamwork:  The Ultimate Competitive Advantage.  It’s FREE.  Just click here to register.

#accountability #teamwork #competitiveadvantage #leadership #trust