Archive for May, 2009

It’s Still About Relationships

May 7, 2009

“It’s Still About Relationships”  April 2009

People-Whispering Tip:

Recently there has been a social networking groundswell.  Everywhere you turn, people are requesting you to link in on LinkedIn, to answer some Facebook request, or to begin Twittering.  I tend to be a relatively early adopter, at least in theory, so I find myself doing my best to keep up.  The internet has provided so many opportunities for us all to connect and communicate that it is truly exciting and revolutionary.

That said, it can all be just a tad overwhelming.  Just when I started mastering the nuances of my email list, I now have several other sources to check every day.  According to a recent Nielsen study, social networks are now more popular than emailing on the Internet.  The study reported that “member communities” are now at 67% participation while email is at 65%.  This same study went on to say that of internet users throughout the world, two-thirds visited a social networking site last year.  Of those, LinkedIn had a 137% increase in users while Facebook had a 168% increase in users in 2008.  To make matters more confusing, the lines seem to be blurring between the personal and the professional, the public and the private domain.

This isn’t all bad.  I’ve always been a proponent of being authentic so that transparency is an easy, effortless, and healthy practice.  The best leaders live their values in all areas of their lives.  Those who say they are very different at home than they are at work are generally not aware of the way they may have needed to mask their true or natural self in order to meet the needs of the environment.  The line between “objective” behaviors and tasks and the perception another has of our intentions based upon those behaviors is the value of the kind of work I do.   A corporate culture is no different in that certain behaviors are more rewarded or at least are not punished.  The issue is how much energy does it take to mask our natural behaviors and gifts and what is the cost to us?

Again, it comes back to what I call people-whispering which is the fine art and science of understanding yourself and the natural strengths you bring to the table, as well as your preferred work environment and managerial approach based upon who you really are.  Whether these interactions take place face-to-face or on Facebook, the principle is the same.  I need to understand me and you, and learn how to bridge the gap into your world in order to connect with you.

In my work as an Executive Coach, Speaker, and Trainer, I continually see the need to pick the right people for the right role, as well as the need to manage the relationship in such a way that people feel validated, heard, understood, and supported.  Let’s not lose sight of the essence of communication because of its ease of access or its newest bells and whistles.  Last August, I wrote an article for the American Society of Training and Development’s online newsletter called ASTD Links.   I was a bit concerned being a tail-end Baby Boomer that it would need to be about the latest in e-learning or blogging both of which are wonderful delivery mechanisms.  But that is what they are folks, delivery methods.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the medium is actually not the message.  The message is still always about meeting people where they are and honoring their spirit as well as their personality.  Even in today’s social networking, fast-paced, internet savvy, twittering world of overwhelming choices and information, good business is about good communication which is about good solid relationships based upon the principles for inspired success.  Some of these principles include serving rather than selling our clients and customers, forging mutually beneficial relationships, and building trust.  Forms change but the heart of what works does not.  Indeed, it is still about relationships.
 
DiSC Assessment Application :
       
So many companies have a need for front-line leadership training.  I am a firm believer that supervisors and new managers need training in order to know how to bring out the best in their people.  Most people have not had strong role models and are therefore at a loss as to how to become effective managers. 

Everything DiSC Management teaches managers how to understand their own style better as well as how to read employee styles and adapt to meet their needs more effectively.  The Everything DiSC Management Profile is a 26 page management-specific, personalized report that helps managers understand how to work more effectively in the areas of delegating and directing, inspiring, developing others, and working with their own manager.

The Everything DiSC Management Facilitation Kit and Video provides you the opportunity to develop specialized, in-depth, customizable training programs for your needs.  The video highlights each styles’ priorities and preferences and provides great interactive exercises for getting buy-in, motivating each style, and for the right/way wrong way to connect with each style in a variety of settings.  This demystifies the art of people-whispering in a management context and gives your managers some concrete suggestions for what to do to increase their managerial effectiveness.

For further information regarding how this tool can help you and your team or organization, feel free to call us at  (404) 327-6330, email us at Laura@lauraadavis.com and visit our site at www.lauraadavis.com.

Transformational Coaching Tip: 
    
Relationships are about mutual respect, trust, and reciprocity.  Understanding how to use DiSC effectively can be a powerful tool to assist people in developing and maintaining healthy relationships personally and professionally.  I want to be sure that everyone also understands that it is not enough to just understand and apply these tools from the level of intellect alone.

Deep coaching incorporates the wisdom gained from understanding your life and your choices as a cohesive whole.  Once you understand your behavioral needs, your values and beliefs, and can identify your thinking and feeling patterns underlying your behavior; you are at choice instead of at effect.

An example might prove helpful to clarify what I mean.  Everyone has heard of “control freaks” or has dealt with people they thought were controlling.  Releasing the need for control and the fear behind that is helpful for all of us.  There is a big difference between releasing the need for control and abdicating responsibility however.

Ask yourself if you tend to use fear-based or wisdom-based control?  Fear-based control shows up as trying to have some kind of power over others and might out-picture as adversarial posturing, threats, passive-aggressive behaviors and so on.  Yet, wisdom-based control comes from a deeper place of respect whereby guidance is offered while at the same time keeping everyone safe and thriving without squashing anyone’s spirit or taking away anyone’s free will.  This kind of “control” might be necessary in the case of managers and employees, mentors and students, society and its citizens, as well as parents and children.

Make the shift to wisdom-based “control” and watch your relationships in all areas of your life transform and flourish.

Clues to Uncovering Your Creative Genius Regardless of a Recession

May 4, 2009

Clues to Your Creative Genius: What Are Your Unique Gifts and Talents?

People-Whispering Tip:

Each and every one of us was born with incredible gifts and talents that are unique and special to us as individuals. For the moment, I’d like you to forget about what you do for a living. I am temporarily uninterested in having you think about your background and experience in terms of skills, training, and experience. Let’s disregard even your current life choices.

For now, let’s just look at what you love to do. You may or may not be able to say what that is. For most people, it is infinitely easier to state what they don’t like to do and to explain what is wrong with their daily life than it is to express what brings them joy. It’s okay. This kind of collective amnesia is rampant in today’s environment of “just being lucky to have a job.” 

Maybe you’ve just lost yours through no fault of your own. Maybe some moments you even see this time in the world as an opportunity to go forth and do what you really love to do. But maybe you’re scared and don’t know where to begin. Maybe you are holding your breath waiting for things to “return to normal.” I recommend exhaling and rethinking your approach to your career.

Don’t worry, while everything is always changing in the world of form, “who you really are” at your core is something that remains the same throughout your life. I believe we each have a vital design or blueprint that needs to express itself through the medium of your whole life. This life purpose of yours is not lost. The clues to your own unique pattern of talents and gifts are just scattered in fragments from your past or may even be hidden in plain sight, right under your nose.

“The Wizard of Oz” is not just a charming children’s story with some beautiful songs in it. It is a classic because it speaks to the truth of our being, namely that whatever we need is with us and within us all the time. We just get distracted on our journeys by what we perceive as people and circumstances that have power over us in the forms of wicked witches, poppy fields, flying monkeys, and interesting winding roads that lead us outside of ourselves until we go back home again. We must go back to reexamine what has always made our hearts sing.

Best-selling author of  “The Tipping Point”, and “Blink” Malcolm Gladwell, has written another fascinating book about geniuses called ‘”Outliers.” The book studies why the people who we consider to be geniuses got to be the way they are escaping the call to mediocrity that so many fall prey to in society today. I love the concept of the book but not the title. Realizing our potential needn’t be so uncommon as the potential for genius is within us all and yet few of us realize it for a variety of reasons. Genius is a focused attention to a subject and usually a subject that we love.

The people that we call geniuses are just men and women who somehow escaped having to put that curious, wondering child within themselves to sleep. Instead, they devoted their time and energy to equipping themselves with the tools, skills, structure, and support to keep playing at what they loved on an adult level. For example, Gladwell’s recent book tells how Bill Gates used to sneak out of his house late at night as a teenager to go “work” i.e. play with computers without his parents discovering where he was.

What did you love to do as a teenager and as a child? Let your mind wander back to your childhood and think of the times you were allowed to play or daydream or do whatever you wanted to do. I’ve adapted the following quiz from a wonderful book by career development author and speaker Barbara Sher. The book is a jewel and is called “Wishcraft.”

Here is the exercise:

Grab your journal or a fresh sheet of paper and do your best to answer the following questions:
1. What especially attracted and fascinated you when you were a child?
2. What sense – sight, hearing, or touch did you live most through?
3. What did you love to do, or daydream about, no matter how “silly” or unimportant (read that impractical) it may seem to you now?
4. What were the secret fantasies and games that you never told anybody about?
5. Is there a part of you that still loves those things?
6. What talents or abilities might those early interests and dreams point to now?

DiSC Assessment Application:

Much has been written about the Myers-Briggs Assessment in regard to career development and creative self-expression. While not as much has been written about the DiSC assessment and how to use the self-knowledge that can be gleened from taking it in this context, it is just as relevant if not more so in my opinion.

The theory behind the DiSC assessment begins with the acknowledgement that we all come into this world with a predisposed set of personality and behavioral energies and characteristics that want to be fully and freely expressed. I often think of the Christmas special “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with the one elf who is unhappy in his role as an elf as he’d rather be a dentist. He was an elf with high “C” or “Conscientiousness” characteristics trying to be a high “i” or an Influencing elf without much success or happiness!

It is important not to stereotype by style and to recognize that all styles can perform many types of work with the proper training for skill and will. That said, within any given field, we do gravitate and tend to do better at something we are naturally drawn to as a result of our DiSC propensities.

For example, a high “D” individual thrives on challenge and achieving results. They are often not content to have a steady, routine job whereas a high “S” personality would appreciate a job with predictable step by step processes in place. A high “C” personality generally is content to perform research and analysis by themselves in a quiet, controlled environment while a high “i” personality would go stark-raving mad without the opportunity to talk with people on a daily basis.

When used correctly, the DiSC-based tool to help people be placed in the right job or role for them so that they have an opportunity to shine and create results for the organization, is called the “Role Behavior Analysis” which can be purchased from the store at www.lauraadavis.com.  For information on how to use this tool properly to get the most out of your team and to do more with less, call us at (404) 327-6330 or email Laura at Laura@lauraadavis.com. Also, see Laura’s article on her website entitled “Beyond Mars and Venus at Work or at Home: The Original DiSC as a Transformational Tool.” 

Transformational Coaching Tip:

I’ve been doing more career transition work than leadership development work in the last few months as a result of the current business environment. While they are different fields, they are really two sides of the same coin. I assist people in developing the self-knowledge and the skills to not only survive but to thrive in the new world of work. The same principles apply whether you are leading others within an organization or whether you are leading yourself to find your best role in a new situation.

One of the barriers I see getting in the way for many individuals is what I call an unhealthy, almost pathological sense of needing to “make it on my own.” Many Americans were raised to be rugged individualists. Self-reliance is a wonderful ideal but in today’s global, interconnected web of ever-changing technologies, players, and economic situations, it is not enough.

All successful people know when to ask for help. You don’t have to be the expert in everything. You will make yourself very tired trying to figure it all out by yourself.

Magic happens when you build on the knowledge, skills, and contacts of other people. By becoming a good receiver, you give others the gift of adding to your life. Consider this as a mindset-shifting transformational tip: Ask for help in the areas in which you need assistance and be willing to offer your expertise in your areas of strength in exchange. Cocreation and collaboration can turn your dreams into realities. All the best to you and email me your inevitable success stories!