Posts Tagged ‘Career Development’

Is Focusing on Strengths Enough? Time-Sensitive Information – Act Now!

May 9, 2011
People-Whispering Tip:

Leadership is a popular and confusing topic for many probably because it can seem to be in short supply in many organizations.  If you go to any bookstore and search the titles of the business section, you will find numerous books about leadership and how to create results through people.  Is leadership really that complex that we need so many perspectives on the topic? 

Perhaps there is just so much misinformation about what constitutes good leadership, that all of these books serve to dispel some common misperceptions.  For example, there is a tendency to think that only those at the top of the hierarchy are leaders, but that simply isn’t true.  Leaders can be found at all levels of an organization and in all walks of life.  Some of the most powerful leaders don’t have the official title but are individuals who have made a tremendous positive impact through the power of their personal example and influence.

That said, horror stories of corporate greed and/or poor decision-making from just a few senior leaders can be enough to bring a whole company down along with a lot of good people in the process.  For example, the fall of Enron (and Arthur Anderson along with it) is not the result of the majority of people not doing their jobs well. 

I am not an expert on what happened, but I did watch the compelling 2005 documentary entitled “The Smartest Guys in the Room” which highlights the fact that having only intellectual prowess is not enough to be an effective, credible leader. 

Granted, the Enron debacle is an extreme example of corporate fraud and a lack of ethics.  Nevertheless, as Enron survived the dot.com bubble burst in 2000, it was named as the “most admired” corporation by Fortune magazine for the sixth year running. 

Clearly, Fortune magazine missed the Darwinian worldview of the Enron corporate culture which had a review committee which graded employees and annually fired the bottom 15 percent who were deemed unsuitable for the company’s objectives.  This created a highly competitive and brutal working environment where trust and teamwork, never mind ethical behavior, could not survive.

My purpose here is not to talk about Enron but to highlight the confusion around what real leadership is and how to cultivate it.  The challenges of the 21st century are requiring greater flexibility and adaptability than ever before.  Management guru Peter Drucker described these demands by saying, “Leaders require the capacity to analyze, to think, to weigh alternatives, and to harmonize dissent.  But they also require the capacity for quick and decisive action, for boldness, and for intuitive courage. They require being at home with abstract ideas, concepts, calculations, and figures.”  That sounds like the intellectual capabilities that were emphasized when I got my MBA.

But Drucker went on to add, “They also require perception of people, a human awareness, empathy, and all together a lively interest in people and respect for them.”  That sounds a lot like the emotional intelligence that Daniel Goleman and others have popularized in recent years understanding that leadership is ultimately about understanding people and how to work with and through others.  

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be interviewed on Atlanta Biz Radio recently on “Building Bridges with Emotional Intelligence and DiSC” which you can listen to here.  My interview starts at about 18 minutes in as there were multiple guests at the studio that morning.

In short, effective leadership is quite multidimensional requiring intelligence, emotional savvy, and flexibility to navigate beyond one’s comfort zones to become well-rounded and more fully expressed.  It requires the ability to respond to rapidly shifting circumstances which requires access to a full range of leadership behaviors most of us just haven’t practiced enough.

As a people-whispering leader, the first step is the first component of emotional intelligence which is self-awareness.  We need to be aware of our strengths and gifts yes, but it is not enough to focus on those alone as many popular management books would have us believe.  Since leadership requires such a broad range of competencies and behaviors, leaders must also understand their “blind spots” by understanding their psychological drivers, motivations, and default stettings or comfort zones.  Without a multidimensional model for leadership, the one-dimensional leader may lack the diverse skills needed to deal with complex challenges and would often choose the most comfortable and inadequate response.

The second step is to understand the strengths and “blind spots” of others or, in emotional intelligence speak, to have social awareness.  Third, stopping at awareness is not enough.  We must learn to adapt to speak to the other in their language and this requires us to broaden our repertoire of leadership skills and grow in new directions. 

For this we need a model of leadership that is multidimensional.  I am excited to announce the forthcoming book to be released by Inscape Publishing authors called The 8 Dimensions of Leadership based upon the DiSC model which does just that.  

The book provides a leadership framework for an individual leader to understand their primary leadership dimension and the psychological drivers, motivations, and “blind spots” typical of their behavioral style.  It also provides solid suggestions on what is most important to their leadership development depending upon the stage in one’s career a person is and the leadership lessons that will help them to get from where they are now to where they want to go.  These lessons relate to the other two components of emotional intelligence which are self-management and relationship management.

I will be offering keynotes and workshops about the book as soon as it is released so stay tuned.   It is exciting in that the model will expand your perspective about what effective leadership is and will help you to chart your own course towards becoming a better leader.  As you learn to stretch and grow, you can expect to become more comfortable in your own skin as a leader.  While your “default” style is valuable you can build upon it by understanding your strengths and your areas for growth.

For assistance on your journey, please feel free to contact me at (404) 327-6330 or via email at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

 

DiSC® Assessment Application:This virtual showcase gives you first-hand experience with the new Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders Profile.  From the comfort of your office, you can participate in a webinar featuring Inscape’s newest product, the Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders.  This isn’t just any 360.  It combines the best of 360’s with the simplicity and power of DiSC, plus 3 strategies for improving leadership effectiveness.Virtual Showcase:  Everything DiSC Application Library for Management, Sales, and Team Applications, June 1, 2011, 4 PM to 5:30 PM Eastern

Enhance your internal management, sales, and employee training programs with The Everything DiSC Application Library product line

From the comfort of your office, you will participate in a webinar featuring the entire family of Everything DiSC Application products.

One of the biggest benefits of having you and your team take any of these profiles is the ability to run Comparison Reports on any two individuals for free.  This is excellent information for coaching for performance or for conflict resolution, etc.

If you or your internal training staff are interested in learning more, join me for the upcoming webinars led by the experts at Inscape Publishing.

You will experience the Everything DiSC Workplace profile as pre-work, and then participate in an interactive, 90-minute webinar from the comfort of your office.  

SPACE IS VERY LIMITED SO CALL OR EMAIL ME ASAP IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING ANY OF THESE EVENTS!

TO REQUEST A SAMPLE REPORT AND/OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS FREE OFFER, send your name, company name, approximate number of supervisors/managers, your title, phone number, city/state to Laura@lauraadavis.com.  The relevant information will be sent to you electronically.

INTERESTED IN A TEST RUN CONVERSATION WITH ME PERSONALLY?

Schedule a DiSC Strategy Session with me.  During this 45 minute complimentary discussion, we’ll discuss your business objectives and challenges, talk about your organization’s leadership capabilities, and see what assessment and coaching/training tools would best benefit you and your team/organization’s needs.  You are under no obligation to make a purchase and there is no pressure, just a process of education about your options.

Call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me to have a conversation about how these tools can help your organization start on the path towards more effective talent development today!

 

Transformational Coaching Tip:This month’s coaching tip is short and sweet.  It is simply, know what pushes your buttons and start to notice your patterns so you can be proactive about responding and not reacting to your triggers.We all have pet peeves about people or events that can irritate us until we just want to scream.  Perhaps you have a coworker who is overly dramatic and who has to communicate everything as if it were the first act of a dramatic play.  You, on the other hand, tend to be a more subtle and calm communicator such that their dramatic behavior really gets your goat.

Often our buttons are pushed by people displaying behavior that is the opposite of what we deem appropriate to the situation at hand based upon our style.

Knowing who and what pushes your buttons is essential to developing the ability to take control of those situations, maintain your poise, and calm yourself down.  Knowing why your buttons are pushed can open doors to managing your reactions to your triggers.

Jot down a list of your major triggers and see if you can detect any patterns.  In future issues, I will further develop the self and relationship management strategies that will allow you to successfully manage these situations with grace.

Of course, it is easier to stay focused in an empowering direction with the assistance of a trained coach.  For assistance in operationalizing any of these best practices into your workplace for more powerful, effective results, feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email Laura@lauraadavis.com.  

To your inspired success!

Need More Time? Find More with Flow – DiSC Showcases, Time-Sensitive Offers

February 21, 2011

People-Whispering Tip:

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go on a Caribbean cruise with Hay House where I participated in a “Writer’s Workshop.”  My wonderful first coach, Cheryl Richardson, was one of the presenters and it was great to see and learn from her again.  I have posted our photo on my Facebook page.  Check out Cheryl’s work at www.cherylrichardson.com.

As I reentered my “normal” life at home, I began reflecting on the nature of time and how it can be hard to get back into the swing of things upon returning from a vacation.

In my work as an executive coach, I see that many people walk through their days unaware and out of touch with their emotional lives in the workplace as well as at home.  This inattention can cause people to flip back and forth into two extremes:  during much of the day, people live their lives filled with the anxiety and the pressures of work and “making a living” kinds of obligations, while during their leisure time, they tend to live in a state akin to passive boredom “vegging” out in front of the TV or internet.

The real key to getting things done with a high degree of satisfaction and even joy is challenging ourselves with tasks that actually require a high degree of skill and commitment.  Psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “chick-SENT-me-high”) wrote the best-selling book “Flow” on this topic and offered compelling research to show that we actually desire the joy of complete engagement and don’t want to just “do nothing.” 

Instead, we want to do what we do with a transformational approach.  It is not so much what we do as how we approach what we do.

Sure, it is easy to say that being on a cruise in the Caribbean is more fun than compiling your information for your taxes or paying your bills both of which I had to complete upon returning home.  That said, I bet you know people who can’t seem to relax even while on vacation such that they must always be doing something or checking their Blackberry or iPhone.

I must admit it took me a few days to drop some of my worldly concerns and projects enough to let the rhythm of the sea enfold me.  And I had to chuckle at the sign in the photo below in Half Moon Cay whose caption reads “I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever.”  This is my writing friend Lucy and me on our last day with the ship in the background.  I suspect the “here” in this message refers not just to this beautiful island in the Bahamas, but to the state of mind we all long to live in daily.

I Wish I Could Stay Here

The good news is, this state of mind can be taught and self-taught and I have included some of my tips in the “Transformational Coaching Tip” section below so be sure to scroll down! 

Over the years, I have learned to train myself and my clients to be more consistently in the flow.  Living in the flow means living fully in the present.  It means not hanging out in the past rehashing old issues or previous conversations.  It also means not hanging out in the future trying to second-guess how things will turn out. 

Instead, it means focusing all of our attention on each interaction, whether it is washing a dish, attending a meeting, doing your laundry, or listening to a loved one or colleague.  Whenever we are fully engaged in whatever we are doing, time seems resonant and full.  Many call this practice mindfulness and there are great books out there about it.

It also means knowing yourself well so that you can be aware of where you are now and where you want to go.  Even more fundamental than that, you must also know who you are and how you help or hinder yourself. 

As a coach, I loved the movie “The King’s Speech” as it exemplifies the ways and whys we struggle when we could be in the ease and joy of flow.  Aside from superb acting, it is an uplifting triumph of awareness.  The main character becomes more aware of the beliefs about himself that drive his behavior and learned some tools and techniques to deal with his stuttering.  But it wasn’t until he reframed his identity and completed a successful public address, that he knew he could stop being derailed by powerful emotions and unknown drives.

Once you become aware of how you think, act, and feel and understand what you believe at work and at home; you can begin to accept where you are now with all of your strengths and limitations and become a leader in your own life.  Then you can begin to consciously mold your own destiny and express yourself with authenticity and real power. 

I wish you success on your journey!  I coach leaders to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent so that their success is inspired with ease and flow.  This can be done one-on-one and with teams and groups in training sessions or keynote speeches.

For the appropriate balance of challenge and support in becoming a better leader of your life and the lives of your direct reports and colleagues and associates, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

 DiSC® Assessment Application (s):

1) The Time Mastery Profile and Facilitator Kit

Sometimes it is important to get tactical about managing our time and yet effective time management still begins with self-awareness.  The Time Mastery Profile and Facilitation Kit is a unique tool that provides you and your staff with a complete understanding of where they are now and where they need to take action to improve their time-management effectiveness.

Setting priorities and managing time are vital to enhancing individual and organizational performance.  If you could reduce your staff’s wasted time by just 5 minutes every hour; productivity would jump 8.3%!

This profile helps people explore time-related behavior in 12 categories:  Attitudes, Goals, Priorities, Analyzing, Planning, Scheduling, Interruptions, Meetings, Written Communications, Delegation, Procrastination, and Team Time.

The 32 page EPIC Time Mastery Profile is more robust and includes the Skills Gap Analysis.  This feature shows how respondents rate their skill in each category as well as its importance to their jobs.  This data helps a “leader as coach” to determine where to assist someone in focusing their time-management efforts for greater personal and professional success. 

There is also a Facilitator Kit with fully scripted training and coaching exercises for use with both the paper and online Time Mastery Profile.  The online assessment is only 10 EPIC credits or $32.00.

For more information on how these training and coaching tools can support your business, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

2) Virtual Educational Webinars – Limited, Time-Sensitive Seating Available

Enhance your internal management, sales, and employee training programs with The Everything DiSC Application Library product line

One of the biggest benefits of having your team take any of these profiles is the ability to run Comparison Reports on any two individuals for free.  This is excellent information for coaching for performance or for conflict resolution, etc.

If you or your internal training staff are interested in learning more, join me for the upcoming webinars led by the experts at Inscape Publishing.

 You will experience the profile of your choice (Everything DiSC Sales, Everything DiSC Management, or Everything DiSC Workplace) as pre-work, and then participate in an interactive, 90-minute webinar from the comfort of your office.  

SPACE IS VERY LIMITED SO CALL OR EMAIL ME ASAP IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING ANY OF THESE EVENTS!

February 22, 2011:  Everything DiSC Application Library from 11 AM to 12:30 PM Eastern.

This webinar provides you with an overview of all of the assessments and training programs in the suite including Management, Sales, and 363 for Leaders.

March 2, 2011:  Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders from 12:30 PM to 2 PM Eastern  

363 for Leaders is meant for anyone who wants to use 360 degree feedback for leadership development; whether they are an emerging high-potential leader or an experienced executive.  In addition to the free profile with a retail value of a very cost-effectively priced $155, you can purchase an invaluable Coaching Supplement Report to create an action plan for development.

March 14, 2011:  Everything DiSC Application Library from 4:30 PM to 6 PM Eastern

This webinar provides you with an overview of all of the assessments and training programs in the suite including Management, Sales, and 363 for Leaders.

TO REQUEST A SAMPLE REPORT AND/OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS FREE OFFER, send your name, company name, approximate number of supervisors/managers, your title, phone number, city/state to Laura@lauraadavis.com.  The relevant information will be sent to you electronically.

INTERESTED IN A TEST RUN CONVERSATION WITH ME PERSONALLY?

Schedule a DiSC Strategy Session with me.  During this 45 minute complimentary discussion, we’ll discuss your business objectives and challenges, talk about your organization’s leadership capabilities, and see what assessment and coaching/training tools would best benefit you and your team/organization’s needs.  You are under no obligation to make a purchase and there is no pressure, just a process of education about your options.

Call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me to have a conversation about how these tools can help your organization start on the path towards more effective talent development today!                                                                    
 
Transformational Coaching Tip:

“We are shaped and guided by what we love.”  Goethe

Coaches and leaders who are coaches have learned to ask themselves and others questions that create value and new ways of thinking and being. These questions can help to guide us in discovering what we love. Here are a few for you on your journey into flow:

1. What is your natural pattern for getting things done? If you are not a morning person, don’t fight it. Schedule your important activities and meetings for the time you are naturally in “the zone.” I resist any “one size fits all” advice as it just doesn’t work that way in my experience.

2.   What are your natural talents and defining strengths? Skills are things that you can do while talents reveal how often and how well you do it.  Talents are instinctive, naturally recurring patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that can be enhanced by new knowledge, skills, and experience. Identify yours and leverage them!

3. What are the activities and tasks that I can get so absorbed in that I lose track of time? There are clues in your life that can help you determine your career path and perfect creative self-expression.  For example, I love to speak, coach, write, and help people with personal and professional growth.  It took me awhile to realize I could make a living at it.  Make sure your career is aligned with your passions and you can’t help but succeed.

 4.   How can I keep developing hidden talents into new strengths?  Commit to a life of continuous learning and growth.  That’s where the fun is!

 5.   How did I take on new challenges this week or how did I face old challenges in new ways?  Exercise your reframing muscle and remember the power of a positive attitude in getting things done under even the most challenging of circumstances.

As stated earlier, the best of life comes from a willingness to stretch byond your current capabilities amd explore, test, and reflect on expanding in new and exciting ways.  Enjoy the process and find the flow without effort!

Of course, it is easier to stay focused in an empowering direction with the assistance of a trained coach.  For assistance in operationalizing any of these best practices into your workplace for more powerful, effective results, feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at

Laura@lauraadavis.com 

To your inspired success!

How to Hire Now, Leadership Principles, Digital Age Beliefs

December 2, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:

Human beings have always been fascinated with what the future might bring. This curiosity has led to wonderful achievements in all facets of life including science, art, literature, and of course, one of my personal favorites, motion pictures. Who can argue with the exploratory and visionary spirit of the “Star Wars” series for example? Or how about the classic “Back to the Future” with likable Michael J. Fox?

As we near the end of the year, we tend to look back on what the year has brought us. This can be a wise, reflective practice if we are grateful for the gifts the year has brought as well as grateful for what we have learned for the future. Depending upon your tendency to look back or to look forward, you might be more inclined to think about what 2011 might bring than on what you have learned from 2010. 

Regardless, it makes sense to assess previous learnings and leverage that knowledge to create an even better and brighter future with intention. While being intentional about creating, it can also be useful to look at trends and predictions for guidance and ideas in addition to learning from the past.  With all of this in mind, I scoured my library shelves for some “fresh” material to honor the end of 2010. 

Since my primary area of expertise is in helping individuals, teams and organizations to create leading-edge, healthy thriving workplaces where people want to go to work and are empowered to bring their best selves to the table, I thought it appropriate to look at workplace trends. 

Now that we have survived what many are calling “The Great Recession,” what does the future hold for the world of commerce?  How can we begin to thrive again but on a solid footing this time and not by building our houses on proverbial sand if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors?

With this goal in mind as you plot your next career move, shape your company’s corporate culture, think about reinventing the way you work, and/or relate to your peers, direct reports, colleagues, and customers more effectively, consider the following guidelines:

  1. The best and brightest people will gravitate toward those corporations/organizations that foster personal growth.
  2. The manager’s new role is that of coach, teacher, and mentor.
  3. The best people want ownership – psychic and literal – in a company; the best companies are providing it.
  4. Companies will increasingly turn to third-party contractors, shifting from hired labor to contract labor.
  5. Authoritarian management is yielding to a networking people style of management.
  6. Entrepreneurship within the corporation-intrapreneurship is creating new products and new markets and revitalizing companies from the inside-out.
  7. Quality will be paramount.
  8. Intuition and creativity are challenging the “it’s all in the numbers” business-school philosophy.
  9. Large corporations are emulating the positive and productive qualities of small business.
  10. The dawn of the information economy has fostered a massive shift from infrastructure to quality of life.   

This sounds like fairly current advice with the exception of the references to the “Information Age” which are now often replaced with “The Digital Age.” Actually, these hot new trends are taken from the 1985 book “Re-inventing the Corporation” by John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene. I was surprised that we are still talking about these trends as if they are new ideas while they have been in process at successful organizations for quite some time.  Ahh our short-term memories as human beings!

As things change, they remain the same as the saying goes.  And we still have ample opportunity to revisit and implement these leading edge recommendations as we move solidly into the 21st century.

As an Executive Coach and Leadership Trainer/Consultant, I am struck by the prescient nature of the authors’ comments about the “new” role of the manager. Likewise, the identification of trends as identified by Daniel Pink such as a nation of freelance contractors and an emphasis on intuition and creativity in “Free Agent Nation” and “A Whole New Mind” are also very relevant in today’s global, virtual, increasingly interdependent economy.

The good news in my mind is the fact that current technologies make it impossible for us to go back and operate profitably in silo-ed, traditional, “command and control,” hierarchical organizations. Transparency is required and hoarding information to gain power is harder and harder to pull off. 

At the same time, the internet and other technologies are seemingly commoditizing many products and services which can benefit the consumer in terms of affordability. Just look at the price of most electronic devices now from even a few years ago.  And yet, just as Naisbitt identified so many years ago, we all still seek, high-touch as well as high-tech and price is never going to be the only factor in why people buy what they do. In other words, in this “Digital Age,” it pays to care.

To differentiate itself, a successful organization must use the internet more to engage with its customers (both internal and external – ie employees are internal customers!). Successful companies see their employees and customers (and even competitors in some cases) as partners so as to develop solid, long-term, mutually profitable relationships. 

In short, we need to reexamine some of the philosophical foundations of our lives and of business and not be afraid to find that many of the old ways are crumbling.  We are ready to build new ways of working and living in accordance with a new set of more enlightened business principles which are centered on collaboration, transparency, and loving, caring relationships in the workplace.

What it all boils down to is that caring is the fundamental principle for success in the new world of business.  The “Digital Age” is and will always be about people communicating, interacting, and creating value with and for other people. 

Once we all embrace that, we will be living and thriving in a brave, new world.

Come join me on your personal and professional journey to embrace these principles. You and your organization can thrive instead of just survive in this new paradigm of the 21st century workplace. 

For more on how to change your corporate culture to one where employees are self-reliant, emotionally educated, self-confident, and empowered to create solid, bottom-line results, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

I know the reason I have been successful in business for the last 16 years despite economic cycles is because I truly do care about my clients, customers, and business partners.  Let us succeed and exceed our wildest dreams in 2011 together!

My sincerest wishes for a joyous holiday season however you celebrate them.

 

Make it your best holiday season ever…!

DiSC® Assessment Application (s):

1) The Role Behavior Analysis:

Speaking of trends, one of the happy ones I am noticing lately is the fact that many of my clients are hiring new people and are concerned about attracting and retaining the best people for their roles and for the organization.

In recruiting and hiring the best, companies need to train their interviewers or interviewing team(s) on targeted, behavioral interviewing techniques.  This involves asking questions in a structured interview that elicits detailed descriptions of an applicant’s past behaviors which are related to behaviors required for success on the job.

A successful interviewer will not only ask questions about the interviewee’s education, credentials, and experience, but will also ask questions to see how the applicant might fit within the organization’s AND the team’s culture.

Another key success factor to hiring well and for onboarding someone successfully at all levels of the organization is matching the prospective employee with the behavioral expectations of the job.  

Any job has multiple roles which require not only different skill sets but differing approaches to how the job or task is accomplished.  The DiSC System is used to very effectively bridge the “how” and the “what” of a job. In other words, most job descriptions tend to focus on the “what” of a job by defining the tasks, duties, or responsibilities. It is often unclear “how” different people (multiple bosses or stakeholders are common for most positions today) expect that job to be carried out which makes all the difference in terms of whether the individual is successful or not.

The Role Behavior Analysis provides a specific set of DiSC related statements which clarify and define role expectations eliminating confusion greatly increasing the chances of a good fit.  A team of interviewers profiles the roles of a particular position and creates a Consensus Role Behavior Analysis which is then compared to a DiSC Profile the applicant fills out. This is used as the basis for a dialogue in the interview and is also very useful for performance coaching once the person has been hired.     

For more information on our workshop “Finding and Hiring the Best” and/or how to use the Role Behavioral Analysis, please call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

2) Half-Day “The Coaching Conversation” Workshop 

 

The Coaching Clinic

Our 2 day leadership development workshop also has a half-day introductory version called “The Coaching Conversation.””The Coaching Conversation” is a great introduction to the Coaching Clinic in that participants learn and practice our proprietary 5 step coaching model.

We will be offering public seminars in 2011 (watch for dates to be announced soon) and would be happy to bring “The Coaching Clinic” and/or “The Coaching Conversation” into your organization to assist you in transforming your culture from wherever it is now to one with engaged, passionate, committed, productive and fulfilled employees.

Thanks to all of you who attended our complimentary webinar entitled “Creating a Culture of Engagement with the Coach Approach.”  We will be offering this webinar again in a new and improved format as well as webinars on additional topics of interest. 

 The half-day is a great way to get the members of your organization excited about the value of coaching as a part of your executive and managerial leadership development efforts. 

Participants experience “coaching” and “being coached” first-hand around their practical business problems.  As they come up with solutions in real-time, the “aha” moments lead to some powerful shifts and behavioral changes that can make a real difference to any organization.

This workshop is also relevant for onboarding and culture change initiatives.

Call us at 404-327-6330 and/or email me to have a conversation about how this program can help your organization start on the path towards more effective talent development. 

3)  Recession-Proof Your Career CD Program with Workbook and Personalized DiSC Assessment

Are your employees searching for sustainable job/career security in today’s “turbulent” times?

My colleague Sal Silvester and I created a very affordable 4-CD set program to TEACH YOURSELF AND YOUR EMPLOYEES THE ONLY SUSTAINABLE WAY TO TRULY RECESSION-PROOF YOUR CAREER FOR THE 21ST CENTURY!

This program is packed with the essential tools and mindset shifts necessary for ongoing career management success.  This is information you can’t afford to be without.  Learn how to make the words “laid-off” and “unemployed” irrelevant to you now and forever. 

As a Business Leader responsible for Employee Development (and all leaders ultimately are!) or as an HR or Training Professional (in your organization, do you find your employees have unrealistic expectations about career growth and development? Do you hear the following complaints from your people?: 

  • My company doesn’t recognize my true gifts and talents and keeps putting me in the wrong roles for me!  (see above re the RBA)
  • I don’t see an opportunity for growth and development in my field at this organization.
  • I want to progress in my company, but I don’t know if I want to be a manager.  I don’t want to be a manager like my manager!
  • There are no good role models of leaders that I want to emulate here.

How about in your own career and creative self-expression?  Do any of the following questions ring true for you?

Are you tired of being down-sized, right-sized, reorganized into positions and/or companies you can’t seem to get passionate about?

  1. Have you reached a point in your career where you know you have more to offer than your employer recognizes and rewards you for?
  2. Are you wanting to be sure you are actualizing your full potential to grow and change and make a contribution to your direct reports, your peers, your team and your organization?

 This product is for ANYONE who:

  1. Has been laid-off or outsourced more than once due to mergers and acquisitions or “the economy.”
  2. Is in a “dead-end” job that doesn’t utilize their skills and talents fully.
  3. Is in an organizational culture that doesn’t match their style and/or values.
  4. Is uncertain about how best to market themselves and find the work that is best for them.
  5. Wants to guarantee their career growth and success for the long-term even in today’s turbulent times.  

IS THIS YOU, YOUR EMPLOYEES, AND/OR ANY OF YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES? 

For a complete content description of what the 4-CD set includes, call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com

Your 4-CD set includes a personalized DiSC Classic 2.0 Profile as well as the invaluable content/information on the CD’s with a workbook containing PowerPoint slides for less than $100.00 plus shipping and handling for a limited time.  This is a great deal so grab on now!

 

Transformational Coaching Tip:One of the fundamental principles of effective coaching is that while great coaching ultimately results in behavioral change, the real transformation begins at the level of an individual’s belief system, mental models, and attitudes. So in keeping with this principle, this month’s “tip” is not a list of “TO DO’s” per se.

Instead, the following are fundamental beliefs or premises about the new caring economy taken from the book “The Caring Economy” written by Gerry McGovern.

While I thought it was a new book given the transformational, leading-edge nature of the material, it was actually written in 1999!  Everything old is indeed new again in some form or fashion as truth is universal and timeless!

The “Digital Age” demands new thinking and a new philosophy as follows:

  1. The “Digital Age” requires a new set of business principles, governing everything from research and development to customer interaction.
  2. The “Digital Age” is about technology finally becoming transparent and people becoming paramount.
  3. In the “Digital Age,” people have never been more educated, self-confident, and empowered.
  4. People care. People care about themselves.  They care about their family, their friends, their community, their country, their environment.
  5. Business needs to care about people if it wants long-term success.
  6. The internet is a revolution primarily in communication, not technology.

Great food for thought indeed.

As we close out 2010 and begin 2011, enjoy this magical season and may the miracles of your heart come true!

Feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com for ways to operationalize any of these best practices into your workplace for powerful, effective results.

All my best!  Laura

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Lessons in Leadership and Tender Power: What Can Leaders (YOU) Learn from Princess Diana’s Legacy?

July 7, 2010
People-Whispering Tip:One doesn’t need to look too far for examples of companies that are failing because they have clung to outdated mindsets based upon hierarchy, autocracy, paternalism, and bureaucracy.  These modes of “command and control” style management are thankfully nearing their completion in the world of business today.  Global markets and technologies which democratize access to information are just a few of the trends supporting this shift.  The shift is not happening without resistance however.

Many of today’s “senior management” are products of decades of business management programming with deeply-rooted hierarchy and control issues. Many of the leaders I have worked with would rather see themselves as generals leading an army, instead of the coach-facilitator leader they know might be more effective.  Many senior leaders fear the prospect of giving up control because they fear negative results.  Sadly, many business schools still give students primarily a technical education and a sense of self-importance, but neglect to emphasize the essential understanding of what makes people tick or the importance of ethical values and social responsibility while still making a profit. 

Recent events in the Gulf are a glaring example of poor leadership in my humble opinion.  It is time to rethink what authentic power really is.  It seems as if many in the traditional business world fall into the trap of being overly impressed with the intellect and credentialing and overwhelmed by emotions at work.  This I have never understood as it seems to be obvious that we bring our whole selves to work.  If I have to leave my passion, energy, talents and commitment at the door to get through my workday, imagine the loss of potential to the company as well as to the individual.

This challenge has been around for some time in that employers are always interested in ways to boost productivity, commitment, and job satisfaction for obvious self-serving reasons.  I was delighted to see that this summer’s HBR’s OnPoint magazine (selected articles from Harvard Business Review) highlights articles on “Reawakening Your Passion for Work” and “The Human Moment at Work” among others.  Even if you are not a “senior leader” in your workplace or organization, you can benefit from understanding how to shift from a “command and control” mindset to a more facilitative coaching leadership style.  I like to think of it as tender power which is an end result of effective people-whispering.

And people-whispering comes down to some conscious communication and action guidelines. One of the first keys to doing this effectively is to act from the healthiest part of your personality that you have access to in the moment.  This requires self-awareness which is the first step to emotional intelligence.  When I interpret the DiSC® Personal Profile and other self-assessment and awareness tools for people, I am careful to point out that all styles have natural strengths and fears which can result in blind spots without awareness and intention.  The more you explore your intentions, the more behavioral options you will create.  Yet regardless of your behavior, people can always read whether you are coming from love or fear.  Loving intentions create real, tender power.  

Between the stimulus and response, or stated more concretely, between the time some event or person triggers you and you are tempted to lash out, manipulate, caretake, fix, teach, judge, blame, gossip, etc., you have a choice.  That choice is to act from a loving part of your personality or to react from fear or an unhealed place within yourself.

The best way to become conscious of which part of yourself you are coming from is to choose your intention before you speak or act.  Doing this allows you to choose the consequences that your words or actions will create in those around you.  And remember, being a true leader regardless of position or title is about creating a positive healthy environment around you like a petri dish where a healthy culture can grow. 

If you are not sure of your intentions, you might ask yourself “what is my motivation?” before speaking or acting.  You can go within and consult your intuition or inner voice and be clear that you are coming from inspiration and shared responsibility, power-with versus power-over.  The DiSC® Personal Profile can give you insight into your fears and strengths as well as how you might behave under pressure or judge others.  This awareness is not to chastise you or make you feel badly about yourself.  Instead, self-knowledge about our potential shadow side gives us power when we shine a light on it. From this awareness, we can make thoughtful, heartfelt, intuitive solutions for the highest good of all concerned.  

This is the mindset and heartset of the 21st century leader.  For more on this topic, I encourage you to read my award-winning article, “Leading with Love.”  I will also be starting a blog on this topic soon in addition to the People-Whispering blog. Stay tuned and for practical tools and application on how to apply this to your business, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

 

 

DiSC® Assessment Application:Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go to the exhibition, “Diana:  A Celebration” which was the award-winning exhibition paying tribute to the life and work of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.   It was a moving and inspiring showcase of her life and work and brought back memories of what was occurring in my life during major events in her very public and short one.

Whatever may or may not have been true of Diana, Princess of Wales, she had an indisputable ability to connect with all kind of people to uplift and inspire them.  Known for her charity work, she was called “the Peoples’ Princess” and often took on unpopular, unfashionable causes including AIDS, leprosy, and landmines among others.  She seemed to listen with empathy to others who weren’t often heard.  How well do you listen to others?If we relate this to the DiSC® Personal Profile, the Personal Listening Profile, and other self-assessment tools, we can see how she used her intuitive knowledge of how to connect to others to make a positive impact. 

Diana had a knack for “people-whispering” in that she knew how to get people talking, adapt to their style in order to cross the bridge into their world, and partner together with them going forward.  I was struck by her compassionate leadership.  Let us all be reminded of the incredible positive impact tender power can have in whatever context you find yourself a leader in business, in the non-profit world, in your family, in your community.

 

 

Transformational Coaching Tip:I mentioned the HBR OnPoint Summer 2010 issue earlier and found it so rich I had to come back to one of the articles entitled “Retention Through Redemption.”  The article shares the story of demoralized employees (sailors) cheering as their departing CEO leaves the company (the ship). 

This is exactly what happened when the USS Benfold’s unhappy crew bid their captain farewell in 1997.  Today, the vessel is the pride of the Pacific fleet such that sailors from other ships are clamoring to join its crew.The new captain of the ship attributes his success to breaking bad habits and jettisoning old attitudes starting with his own.Here are the key lessons learned which fit nicely into our theme of tender power this month.

  1. Reject the “Command and Control” style – in today’s technology-driven, complex organizations, no single person can manage all the information and make all the split-second decisions required.  Effective leaders provide a compelling vision and clear values – and guide (not dictate) their people to success.
  2. And Learn How to Listen – treat every encounter with every person as the most important thing in the world at that moment.
  3. Differentiate Freedom From Lack of Discipline – set limits and define unbreakable, ethical and safety rules.
  4. And Then Hand Out Trust and Responsibility – if you’ve led well, delegate.
  5. Redeem Employees During Their Toughest Times – when people are at their worst, you can only redeem them by taking some scary chances.

I encourage you to read the article for more and to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com for ways to operationalize these best practices into your workplace.

Leadership as a Future Business Imperative

February 1, 2010

“The Leadership Gap as a Future Imperative” 

People Whispering Tip:        

As we start a new decade and continue to climb out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, it is crucial to revisit the importance of leadership skills.  New research from the highly respected Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) found that organizational leadership skills are inadequate to meet both current and future demand.  CCL surveyed a representative sample of 2,200 leaders from 15 organizations, in three countries between 2006 and 2008 with the intention of answering the following three questions:

  1. What leadership skills and perspectives are critical for success now and in the future?
  2. How strong are current leaders in these critical skills and perspectives?
  3. How aligned is today’s leadership strength with what will be the most important skills and perspectives in the future?

Without delving into the research project’s findings in depth, the bottom line is, the study revealed a significant leadership gap in the competencies that are most critical for success now and in the future.  This study and others like it, point to a global shift in the awareness that many of today’s leaders are not well prepared to effectively lead today’s most talented employees.  One could point to flaws in the study as it is based upon the subjective opinions of people deemed to be “leaders.”   It was also a forced-choice survey using competencies from CCL’s Benchmark instrument within a relatively short, five year time horizon.

All of that said, the results still point to some alarming needs in crucial areas highlighted by the recent recession.  For example, “resourcefulness,” “doing whatever it takes,” and “being a quick learner” are more critical now than ever before.  My work supports these results as I have worked with some very talented people in the last year who are excellent at leading change initiatives and strategic planning but have a need to let go of what used to work for them and their organization in order to adapt to a rapidly changing market environment. 

Sometimes this means learning new skills.  For instance, in the training and development field, traditional face to face trainers and instructional designers may also need to learn to design and facilitate online courses using new methodologies and tools.  This is a new skill I have invested in learning more about this past year.  Sometimes adapting means letting go of old methods and flawed premises.  Sometimes it means learning to transfer skills from one context to another with a fresh and yet experienced eye.  One thing is for sure though.  Being successful as a leader always requires self-reflection and a willingness to grow and evolve or die.

As you enter this new decade, ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to improve your skill set and to keep your personal and professional development ahead of the curve of the present and future needs of your business.  I am continually amazed at the numbers of “leaders” who are still ignorant of key business needs such as social media trends, emotional intelligence skills, and/or global, cross-cultural issues to name a few.

On a positive note, one of the most exciting trends in my opinion is the fact that the increasing complexity of today’s business environment is forcing us all to rely on our intuition more consistently.  No one can possibly analyze all of the variables necessary to predict the future without a combination of analysis and inner knowing.  Both skills are needed for the future.  For a great outline of the need for more whole brain thinking, I recommend reading anything by Daniel Pink particularly his book, A Whole New Mind.

If you’ve been reading this Ezine or have worked with me in any capacity as a coach, speaker, or trainer, you know that one of my guiding principles for inspired success is to take personal responsibility for your future and to seek support to implement your goals and intentions. As we kick off a prosperous 2010, ask yourself:

  • What am I doing to improve my leadership skills?
  • What am I doing to assist others in growing their leadership capabilities?
  • Am I taking inspired action or just going through the motions by doing what is expected of me?
  • How can I shift my attitude and perspective to stay fresh and on the leading edge without throwing the proverbial “baby out with the bathwater”?

I love this quote by Peter Senge about the nature of true leadership.  He says, “Leadership is about creating a domain in which human beings continually deepen their understanding of reality and become more capable of participating in the unfolding world.  Ultimately, leadership is about creating new realities.”

In 2010, take the leadership challenge to recreate and reinvent your reality personally and professionally.  You’ll be glad you did.
 
DiSC Assessment Application:
       
One of the misconceptions people often harbor about leadership is that it necessarily implies positional authority.  While tacit authority certainly helps, it is even more important to be able to “influence without authority.” 

As I prepare for a training course with my Forum colleagues for a division of Siemens, I am reminded of the power of DiSC to help others do just that.  Our participants are a selective crop of the “best and the brightest” relatively newly hired “high potentials.”  As is often cited in the management literature, these Millennials have high expectations of management which indeed they should.

What they don’t know yet however, is the importance of speaking to their managers in the manager’s language rather than just asking the same questions over and over again (and more loudly).  One of the basic tenants of human behavior is that even our greatest strengths when overused can become liabilities.  It is akin to the old cliché of doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.  Instead, a change of strategy – in this case, employing the art of people-whispering – is required.

Once you understand your own behavioral style and personality characteristics, you know what your gifts and strengths are as well as what you might tend to overuse.  We teach people to leverage these strengths, but also to attune to the language the other is speaking in order to communicate with them in a way that makes sense and “lands” with the listener not just the speaker.

This ability to connect and communicate with people with differing styles is at the heart of leadership and always will be. Understanding DiSC and all of its applications in today’s new world of work is endlessly exciting as real magic occurs when people relate at this level.   Another key to leading regardless of your title, is to cultivate your self-worth and become a new you in the new year with enhanced self-esteem.  Check out my book called A Guide to Getting It: Self-Esteem for more support in this area.  It is a compilation of great contributions from some highly regarded Master Certified Coaches in both the life and business coaching arenas. 

Make no mistake, these skills are not just warm and fuzzy people skills.  Understanding how to use DiSC- based relationship skills encompass a wide range of personal, social, communication, and self-management behaviors.   You can have all the technical expertise in the world, but if you can’t sell your ideas, get along well with others, or create solutions for organizational problems, you are going nowhere fast.

Transformational Coaching Tip:

Last month I promised to continue to offer more ways to stay in touch with your aliveness and to stay out of a rut.  Since I do my best to practice Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements, one of which is “be impeccable with your word,” I am offering more such pearls this month.  Yet because it is a New Year and a New Decade, I feel compelled to include something akin to New Year’s Resolutions.

For any Jane Roberts fans, you’ll recognize this list which focuses primarily on the feelings and attitudes to cultivate first before inspired action is recommended.  Email me if you’d like further information as to the source of this wisdom.  Here goes:

  1. “I will approve of myself, my characteristics, my abilities, my likes and dislikes, my inclinations and disinclinations, realizing that these form my unique individuality.  They are given to me for a reason.”
  2. “I will approve of and rejoice in my accomplishments and I will be as vigorous in listing these-as rigorous in remembering them – as I have been in remembering and enumerating my failures or lacks of accomplishment.”
  3. “I will remember the creative framework of existence in which I have my being.  Therefore the possibilities, potentials, seeming miracles, and joyful spontaneity of Framework 2 (the invisible creative intelligence) will be in my mind, so that the doors to creative living are open.”
  4. “I will realize that the future is a probability.  In terms of ordinary experience, nothing exists there yet.  It is virgin territory, planted by my feelings and thoughts in the present.  Therefore, I will plant my accomplishments and successes, and I will do this by remembering that nothing can exist in the future that I do not want to be there.”

Happy New Year!

Are You Learning/Growing Enough for our Times? Take the Lifelong Learning and Collaborating Challenge!

December 8, 2009

People Whispering Tip :

I’ve had a lot of epiphanies lately so it was a bit of a challenge to choose among them for a topic for this month’s tip. Having too many simultaneous ideas and options is often one of my challenges in life. I like to create rather than follow through. I can follow up without too much difficulty, but there is an important distinction between following up and following through. Fortunately, I have people in my life who have taught me to do this more effectively and who are naturally good at follow through rather than creating such that we complement one another.

The importance of such distinctions struck me recently while having a coaching conversation with one of my clients who is experiencing a feeling of chronic impatience for not being where he wants to be in his career. At this point in time, he doesn’t really know where he wants to be which is even more unsettling. If he can sit with the ambiguity and allow a higher solution to emerge, then real progress will be achieved. That can be the challenge with attempting to truly collaborate as well. Sometimes you have to sit with the discomfort for real change to occur. Kudos to my client though for seeking out a sounding board, a source for resources, a person who will ask the questions and share the observations that no one else dares to offer for fear of reprisal, lack of skill, or even for lack of a vocabulary to put words to an intuitive knowing.

Ever notice how much easier it is to spot someone else’s issues and foibles than to identify your own? Maybe you are aware of yours, but are at a loss to know what to do to work with your strengths in a positive way while mitigating your weaknesses. The epiphany I want to write about has to do with this phenomenon. I want to offer a tip about the value of collaboration to solve this and other related challenges such that we learn faster and make the changes we need to make in a timely way. Radical and fast transformation is imperative in our current times.

As most people move through their lives, they develop habits and patterns of behavior that serve them well in a particular time period and/or environment. Yet many people fail to realize that they may need to change their minds continually about what they think is true or real both personally and professionally. It can feel threatening to expose yourself to new ways of thinking and being if you have not been doing so consistently throughout your life. If you do learn something new that challenges your current paradigm, it doesn’t make you a bad person or “wrong” for how you used to see things. Chances are you were doing the best you could with the awareness, energy, and information you had at the time. Parts of what you “knew” before are likely still correct within an expanded view. That said, I think it is a leader’s responsibility to keep learning and growing and exploring new territory whether the terrain be the business world, the world of health and medicine, technology, global politics, entertainment, whatever.

The ways to do this are endless today. Read books (yes, old-fashioned printed books) as well as learn from social and other forms of media. At the same time, know that everything you read must be considered from the point of view of the author or broadcaster or tweeter. Be discerning and look at the point of view from many perspectives. Travel internationally and meet people from different races, cultures, religions, and backgrounds. Exposure to diversity breeds an open and wise mind not just an intelligent one. I am continually astounded by the number of people who have blindly bought into the world view of their parents or the prevailing media world view without ever questioning the fact that new knowledge and experience may have been gained since they went to school or first started in their chosen field. Innovation never ceases and it’s a good thing. If it hadn’t, we might still be afraid to sail off the edge of the world of our flat earth.

At the same time, let’s be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Ancient cultures and traditional wisdom have much to teach us in all arenas especially if we integrate the old with the new and employ the right tool for the right job. We must also get to the root of the issue and deal with the cause rather than just dealing with the symptoms. This can be uncomfortable, but it is the only way positive, sustainable change can take place. It’s easier to take a pill and relieve the pain and do that if you must while also addressing the real cause.

What has this got to do with business and training and coaching you might ask? And how does it relate to the multiple epiphanies I mentioned earlier? It relates in the sense that interaction is not in and of itself collaboration. We can know about different perspectives without really learning anything. In my work, I am interested in more than just having meetings and creating initiatives to improve performance. I am interested in transformation and authentic leadership which can only come from being continually willing to allow your mind and heart to be open and stretched into new vistas. It’s humbling and scary and exciting all at the same time.

Collaboration goes beyond interaction by asking that two or more people create something anew. It goes beyond conversation and sharing ideas although it must begin there. It may require a higher level of skill in terms of deep listening and conflict resolution. But most of all, it requires a willingness to learn and grow and to allow your mind to be changed enough that your wisdom can meld with someone else’s in a kind of alchemical leadership process. Are you up for the adventure?

DiSC Assessment Application:

An understanding of Everything DiSC Sales (see www.lauraadavis.com under Products and Assessments) has never been more important than it is today in our times of social media and information overload. Most people have been so overexposed to sales messages through electronic media that they have become allergic to selling. For instance, if I participate in one more webinar without content other than a thinly veiled sales pitch, I may scream. I take no issue with someone offering a product or service, just be clear about it while you also offer value-added information. In other words, if we really want to share products, services, and tools that we believe in, we will have to do so in the new “sharing” vs. “push” model.

This is where having an understanding of someone’s DiSC style can be invaluable. If I practice people-whispering and share my product or service’s benefits to you in your language and in a way you can hear it, I am supporting you in making an informed choice. I am serving you rather than selling to you. I have to have something to offer with substance, and the style in which I communicate it has got to be about serving you. Speaking someone else’s’ language engenders trust. If you leave out the manipulation and self-interest and show you genuinely care about me, it’s likely I will buy your story and your product.

As a gift to my clients as I begin my 15th year in business (yikes!), I am offering a complimentary 30 minute consultation to talk about how using DiSC with your sales teams might help you grow your revenues and improve your bottom line. Just call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com to schedule a time to chat.

Transformational Coaching Tip:

I always chuckle a bit when people complain to me about being at a stage in life where they have fallen into a rut. My life is ever new and “rutless” and could actually use a tad more structure and stability these days. So the challenge is always how to have enough of a routine while still keeping it fresh and new such that you are growing and changing and open to the possibilities without becoming overwhelmed and disorganized. Here are some tips to do just that:

1. See life (as well as collaboration!) as an adventure to be savored. Granted sometimes life is boring or painful but expecting the best does indeed attract the best to you even if you don’t see it at the time.

 2. Work on your confidence. Learn about self-talk and the power of affirmations. Remember the children’s story “The Little Engine That Could?” I used to love that story and its profound message. Take baby steps and manage the self-doubt and worry – lesser folks have done more with less.

 3. Let go of what others think. By this I mean be true to what brings you joy and honor what you are really passionate about. I don’t mean ignore what others think (remember to listen to challenge your point of view) but I do mean do what’s right for you. You don’t have to live in the suburbs and have 2.5 kids if you don’t want to but if you truly do, then go for it! Likewise, being different just to be different is a rebellious way to be just as tied to others’ opinions of you. Chart your own course with input from those you respect.

 4. Listen to your own inner guidance. Now I love my family dearly, but I must say this was not something that was encouraged or acknowledged as I grew up. That said, today there are so many powerful and wonderful tools and resources for developing your intuition. That doesn’t mean you should throw your critical thinking and analytical reasoning out the window either but be open to the miracles. I’ve had all kinds of multisensory experiences myself frequently enough to know they are real. I’ve also worked with high-level leaders who have confessed that their most brilliant moves were intuitively inspired. The scientific or mathematical analysis was then used to verify what they already knew in their hearts.

 5. Become a seeker or practical mystic. You can be practical and ambitious and have both feet firmly on the ground AND at the same time, explore the greater purpose and meaning of life. The financial crisis of the past 2 years has forced many people to reassess their values and priorities. Go one better and reexamine the nature of reality. Science is now revealing what spirit has known all along. Be a part of the grand and glorious ride.

 6. Keep reading this Ezine! Next month I will reveal 5 more ways to stay in touch with your aliveness and stay out of a rut.

HINT: Another key way is to appreciate everything in your life even if it isn’t exactly the way you want it yet (hint #2: that target keeps moving so enjoy the journey!)

With that, a very happy holidays to you and yours and thank you for being a part of my life! I appreciate you!

Are You in the Right Petri Dish/Environment to Thrive?

October 24, 2009

People Whispering Tip:        

 We’ve had great fun with our recent webinar series “Recession-Proofing Your Career” which you can read about at www.recession-proofyourcareer.com.  As an executive career and leadership coach, it often amazes me how few people spend the time to educate themselves about how to make good career choices based on their unique talents and skills.  So many people just seem to stumble into their careers by default (and not just careers but marriages and children, etc.) based upon what their parents, peers, or society via teachers and the media said they should do at the time.

I tend to favor Auguste Rodin’s, the great sculptor of the Thinker, perspective when he said “The world will never be happy until all men (and women) have the souls of artists – I mean when they take pleasure in their jobs.”  In today’s world, I would extend that beyond the concept of just a job to how one makes their livelihood or way in the world.  In the New Thought tradition based upon the great thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the term creative self-expression is used in lieu of career or job.  It is a broader term encompassing how we make our way in the world.  The Buddhist concept of dharma is similar with its emphasis on purpose and meaning beyond just making a living.  I am interested in helping people to make a better living and a better life.

This is more relevant than ever today when the “average” person has 5 to 7 totally different careers in one lifetime in stark contrast to my father’s day.  My father was an organic chemist and business executive who worked for the same company for 39 years before he retired.  Even if we wanted that level of consistency, if not “security,” that opportunity is just not realistic anymore.  We are called to continually reinvent ourselves such that we are on purpose and are passionate about our lives while we still make a decent living. 

Where on earth to begin?  The first place to begin is to learn more about yourself and your unique strengths, gift, skills, interests, and capabilities as the special person you are.  There are many relevant assessments and ways to uncover these talents which I use with my clients who are searching for direction.  Two factors that are essential to understand and uncover are:  1) Role or Job Fit, and 2) Culture Fit or Match.   

Once you understand more about your value to an organization or field, you can begin to define the job role fit for you.  Tools such as DiSC and MBTI are invaluable to help you understand why you may gravitate towards certain aspects of a field over others.  It is never as prescriptive as “you are this style or type and therefore you should do this” as some practitioners who are not fully trained might lead you to believe.  There are too many elements to us multidimensional human beings for that.  That said, your DiSC style will give you some very strong clues as to what role you would be best suited for all other things being equal. 

For example, someone with a primary preference for D behavior thrives in leadership roles that allow them to be in charge and direct change in an organization.  They also like to focus on tasks and achieve results and to communicate clearly and directly about how to get things done.  Someone with a high I preference thrives in a role where they can motivate and influence others through their persuasiveness and their optimistic, enthusiastic approach to opportunities and problems.  They also love to lead or participate in groups and build alliances to get results.  A high S individual thrives in a role that allows them to work in a steady, predictable, and orderly manner.  They also enjoy working in conventional and proven ways and make decisions through group consensus rather than strictly on their own.  Last, a high C individual enjoys a role that allows them to perform work at high standards of quality where they can apply their own structures, methods, and models within the job’s framework of expectations.  They also enjoy knowing how things work and don’t like surprises to a process or procedure.

In addition to the best role for each style, it is helpful to find a corporate or organizational culture that matches your style.  Even if the overall corporate culture doesn’t match your style, having a work group or team culture match can make all of the difference between surviving and thriving.  Prior to starting my own business, I worked in a few large Fortune 500 companies so I can truly speak from personal experience.  While I was with Equifax for example, I was on both the credit and the insurance side of the house.  As a high I and secondary D, I was the happiest when both my role as a Product Marketing Manager and the work group culture I found myself in while in the Credit Marketing Group matched my behavioral style needs.  For the first time in some time, I was surrounded by other high I’s who thrived on interaction, collaboration, persuasion, energy, and excitement.  I had come home to my people!  In contrast, while on the insurance side of the company, I did market research which I could do, but found relatively boring due to the quantitative nature of the work which didn’t require much interaction with people.

In short, the environment in which you place yourself in addition to the job role you assume, has a tremendous impact on your job satisfaction as well as your performance.  Just like a petri dish in a lab, there are ideal conditions for each type of bacteria to grow and thrive.  Understanding where you will thrive is a big piece of your evolution to your best self.  To learn more, there is still time to order our 3 part webinar series CD package at the early bird rate.  Look for details to be posted soon at our site which is www.recession-proofyourcareer.com.

In the meantime, if you are interested in career coaching for yourself or for your organization, I have some room in my practice for additional clients.  Please contact us at (404) 327-6330 or email us at Laura@lauraadavis.com.

 DiSC Assessment Application: 
       

To learn more about your ideal cultural fit, the classical patterns in the DiSC Classic 2.0 report can offer you a world of insight.  The classical pattern looks at how an individual’s four dimensions of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness come together in combination.  Since we all have aspects of all of the dimensions within us, it is helpful to know in what combination and level of intensity each of them combines to give us a richer, deeper understanding of individual behavior.

There are 15 classical patterns which arise showing an individuals’ emotions, goals, how they tend to judge or evaluate others, how they like to influence others, and their value to the organization.  It also provides information regarding the behaviors they tend to overuse particularly under pressure due to their common fears.  Last, the classical pattern gives some helpful information regarding how one can increase their effectiveness to the organization.  This pattern is often so accurate people will ask me if I am a fortune-teller or seer.  Often they have received feedback regarding these issues and factors in performance feedback over the years.

In keeping with this month’s theme of planting yourself in a fertile petri dish or soil, it is wise to choose a work culture that fits your emotional needs based upon your classical pattern.  Doing so will increase your chances of being more effective, performing at a higher level, being more satisfied, and feeling more energized on a daily basis.

In short, not all D’s, I’s, S’s, and C’s are alike.  For example, if you are an outgoing, friendly, expressive and action-oriented High I, Moderate D individual, you would feel completely out of place in a culture that values deliberateness, formality, and low-key communications.  On the other hand, if you possessed a Creative classical pattern with an equally High D and C, you might thrive in a more reserved, task-oriented, analytical, focused work environment.  A DC style under pressure might get more detached and controlling in order to fix what is wrong while an iD would likely get more emotional and expressive when stressed.

I encourage you to retake the DiSC Classic 2.0 profile yourself to see where your classical pattern falls.  I will be giving a webinar on culture fit and your ideal career soon so stay tuned for further details.  In the meantime, coaching or a one-time consultation regarding how this applies to you can be arranged by calling us at 404-327-6330 or emailing Laura@lauraadavis.com
 

 Transformational Coaching Tip: 
    

Since I am on a “cultural kick” this month, I want to remind everyone about the importance of looking at other cultures and belief systems to broaden your perspective on how you view things.  The truth is not always obvious since we generally see it through the lens of our own perceptions.  In my experience, the more we learn about other times and cultures as well as different beliefs within our own culture, the more we are humbled by the knowledge that our perceptions are based on very narrow, limited views of the universe. 

It may shock you to learn that your way is not the only nor necessarily right way even if you don’t think you have the tendency to believe that.  That is why travel and exposure to other belief systems is so invaluable.  The more we understand that our reality and the meanings we assign to events are influenced by the time and space we grew up in as well as the mass consciousness we are surrounded by, the more we can be open to change and growth as needed.

For my clients who are also in Georgia reading this, you know that only a few years ago, we suffered a major drought and had to operate on severe water restrictions.  Recently, we had record rains and flash flooding causing severe road damage, power outages, and property damage particularly in the Northwest suburbs of Atlanta.  In other words, a farmer experiencing a drought welcomes the rain and sees it as a positive event.  On the other hand, if you are on the roof of a low building as the flood waters rise around you, you’d probably dread the rain and see it as bad.  The meaning we assign to an event is truly relative and is largely a matter of context, perspective, and perception.

As you go through the next month, consider how the following key points impact you and your world.  Are your perceptions serving you or not?

Key Points:

  • Perceptions are generally based on a very limited amount of information.
  • Your perceptions often exaggerate or minimize the truth.
  • A wider array of perceptions sometimes makes the truth appear less absolute and more relative.
  • Your reality is based upon your perceptions of the truth which can be changed.

Recession-ProofYourCareer – www.recession-proofyourcareer.com

August 27, 2009

People Whispering Tip:

I’m getting tired of reading articles that start with the catch-all phrases “in today’s tough economy,” or “in these challenging times,” etc. I brace myself for another round of bad news or ways in which I will be cautioned to be fearful and to hunker down to prepare for the worst.

Mind you, I am not suggesting that we all “pour pink paint” over challenging situations and pretend they don’t exist. That would be as silly as talking about wellness and prevention to someone who has just been hit by a speeding car head on and is bleeding and suffering from traumatic injuries. Obviously, wellness and prevention are still relevant but secondary to dealing with the immediate issue at hand. To continue the analogy though, too many people, once they stop the bleeding so to speak, go right back to their old ways and don’t stay in shape and current with what they need to do to thrive in today’s “new” world of work. I put “new” in quotes as these trends have been developing since the 1980’s and it seems that many are just now waking up to their realities. It’s often a question of timing, common sense, and being empowered with the information it takes to be in tune with the changes in today’s world.

The focus of this article is what you can do from a career management perspective in order to recession-proof your career. It’s also a question of getting back to principles which are universal immutable truths. It is easy to argue that this domino effect of sub-prime mortgages, tumbling stock prices, job losses, and tightening credit were the result of greed and irrationality. These events highlight poor decision-making, poor risk analysis, and the interconnectedness of our global economy.

Very simplistically, when the US housing market began its freefall in 2007, the mounting delinquencies and foreclosures pressured banks to sell or revalue the mortgage pools on their balance sheets. In doing so, they eroded their capital, limiting their ability to lend. As a result, banks had to withdraw credit lines and borrowers had to sell assets to pay back loans taking large losses as asset prices declined. Banks had to further tighten credit causing foreclosures and delinquencies to rise depressing consumer demand which in turn squeezed business earnings resulting in businesses having to cut expenses and jobs.

 While I have an MBA and study economics and investing enough to be reasonably well-informed, what I am an expert in is the job market from a career management as well as a talent management perspective. From personal experience working with thousands of clients over the years, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of educating yourself about the “new” employment contract and working with a more fluid, boundary-less mindset. In the spirit of education and awareness, I’d like to invite my readers to a complimentary virtual event/webinar my associate/colleague and I are conducting Tuesday Sept. 1st at 9 PM Eastern. Register now at http://www.recession-proofyourcareer.com regardless of whether you can attend live or not.

If you’ve been laid-off or outsourced more than once due to mergers or acquisitions or the economy, this call is for you. If you’ve found yourself in a dead-end job that doesn’t utilize your skills and talents or are in an organizational culture that doesn’t match your style, this call is for you. If you are uncertain as to how best to market yourself and find work that is right for you, this is for you. If none of that applies to you, feel free to pass this information along to a friend or colleague of yours who might benefit. “The 7 Costliest Myths About Today’s Job Market” we will address are:

 1. Nobody is hiring! There truly are opportunities abounding in this market if you know where to look, how to look, and how to “market” yourself. We will address this in the webinar and in an in-depth series to follow.

 2. It’s all about my skills and experience. Competency is expected and your background and skills do matter. But it is even more important to be able to demonstrate what you can do in the future for a potential employer or client for that matter. The principles are the same regardless.

3. All I have to do is be myself in the job search process. First impressions matter whether you are networking, interviewing, or just casually exploring your options in information-gathering meetings. We’ll address the importance of adapting to the person with whom you are interacting in order to put your best foot forward.

 4. I can’t change industries at this point. Many people can and do change industries multiple times throughout their career. It’s a question of knowing your transferrable skills and being able to assess and understand an industry quickly by understanding its strategic drivers, its competition, its future prospects and so on. We’ll touch on how and share stories of those who have successfully transitioned into new industries for inspiration.

 5. The internet is the first and only place to find a job. Today the internet is an important tool in a job search as well as in bidding for contract or consulting opportunities or for attracting opportunities for small business. That said, the hidden job market is still the best way to land an opportunity that will be a good match. Learn the hidden job market’s secrets.

6. Only “lucky” people have careers they are passionate about. This is just not true. It is true that everything has its grunt work and less fun aspects. But even in “rough” times, those who succeed let their energy and passion and belief in what they do shine through. This is what positively influences the people they impact even more than what they do.

7. Once I have a job, I can coast! Sadly, this erroneous belief is why so many people are shell-shocked and take longer than necessary to land another viable opportunity. Being well-connected and networked is just as important once you’ve landed a job as it is while you are looking for a job.

DiSC Assessment Application:

When I first started working in the corporate world, my father gave me a little pamphlet entitled “How to Get Along With Your Boss.” Corny as it may have been, understanding that your success in a new job is largely dependent upon developing a good relationship with your new “boss” is yet another timeless, common-sense principle for inspired success.

Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of teaming with best-selling author and Harvard business professor Michael Watkins through the Forum Corporation with a training program based upon his best-selling book “The First 90 Days. ” Dr. Watkins’ premise is simple in that it he postulates that a new leader must develop critical success strategies within a 90 day period in order to establish trust and credibility. The book is rich and well-researched and beyond the scope of this Ezine.

However, one of my favorite tools in the book is learning to negotiate for success by planning for 5 conversations. These conversations are not subjects to be dealt with in separate conversations but are intertwined threads of an ongoing dialogue. The most relevant to DiSC and the family of Inscape assessments is the style conversation. Everything DiSC Workplace (see my store at www.lauraadavis.com) allows you to understand your style better in terms of how you learn, communicate, influence others and make decisions.

 I’ve written about the importance of understanding oneself and your impact on others many times so I won’t repeat it here. I’ve also written extensively about the importance of adapting to the other person’s style in order to support them and to connect so that you can partner together going forward. What’s new about Everything DiSC Workplace is its Classical Patterns section in addition to the new circumplex model. The Classical Patterns section in this assessment will enable you to know precisely how to interact with others in order to adapt to their needs. It also gives you prescriptive ways to specifically adapt to the person’s nuances of style. In this way it is much more behavioral and useful in practical application.

When style differences arise, it is best to deal with them directly. Otherwise, you run the risk of having your boss or coworker perceive and interpret a style difference as disrespect or even incompetence on your part. In coaching executive women leaders in particular, I encourage them to raise the style issue before it becomes a potential source of irritation with you and your “boss.” Being proactive about how to accommodate both of your styles is the key to short and long-term success in this initial relationship as well as in many others.

For help in “managing up” in a new boss or team situation, call us at (404) 327-6330 or email Laura@lauraadavis.com to find out how to use the Everything DiSC Workplace Profile and Facilitation System to recession-proof your success within your organization.

Transformational Coaching Tip:

Your best bet for thriving and not just surviving in the new world of work is to be agile! Successful leaders develop on the job and learn managerial lessons from day-in and day-out experiences. Some companies invest in their people at the outset, but far too many wait until a crisis is at hand before developing their leaders.

As a coach, trainer/facilitator, and assessment expert, I am often called in when a manager or executive is about to derail. Generally, when someone is about to derail, it’s for one of two reasons. The first is an obvious personality issue or power struggle that an understanding of DiSC and how to use it could have prevented. The second related cause is depending too much upon the competencies that moved them into management in the first place and not learning new skills that are needed to continually perform effectively as a manager. I am continually amazed at the number of corporate managers who are not using any social media tools and aren’t networked inside never mind outside their company for example.

There is a relatively new concept in the management literature called “learning agility” which is increasingly being recognized as essential for long-term success. Learning agility is the ability to learn something in Situation A and apply it in Situation B. It is about forming patterns collected in one context and then using those patterns in a completely new or different context to make sense of something you’ve never seen or done before.

I hear so many Baby Boomers complain about being perceived as too old in the workplace. It’s not about age, it’s about being dated because they are no longer agile. In short, be sure you are continually learning and growing in your field. Stay current with the latest technological trends and learn new skills on an ongoing basis. Invest in yourself for fun and for profit. Don’t RIP or retire in place. Successful managers and executives respond to adversity and diversity by learning new skills and additional ways of thinking on an ongoing basis.

Recession-Proofing Your Career Through Portability of Relationships

July 9, 2009

People Whispering Tip        

It’s easy to resist the need to stay connected with contacts when you are busy with what is in front of you, whether that’s your corporate job, delivering on a current project with a client, being a parent, or just making sure you exercise and keep up with your friends.  There is no question that the rate and magnitude of change keeps speeding up.  I used to teach two day workshops on this in the late 90’s and even had the opportunity to go to Japan and Korea to share tips and techniques on how to manage change with the Marriott Corporation.  It was a wonderful program which offered some practical tips on navigating through change using skills in four key areas – communication, openness, support, and experimentation.

Many of those concepts and skills still apply today.  That said, many training and coaching programs and interventions still assume a contained world of hierarchical organizations where once you “land” a job or contract, you can breathe easy for awhile.  If this past year has taught us anything, it’s taught us to wake up and assume nothing.  In coaching and consulting circles, we have been talking about thinking about yourself as a portfolio of transferrable skills for a long time.  In other words, you have skill sets and you seek to match your skills with the needs of an organization as you progress throughout your career.  You take your skills with you to another organization as your skills may not be needed at your original company.  Like it or not, the days of working for one company throughout your career are long gone.

However, factors other than skills are important to pack along with you in your portable career suitcase too.  What people seem to be missing in my opinion is the value and crucial importance of energizing and sustaining ongoing trusting relationships with people they’ve done business with in any context.  Of course, skills and experience, otherwise known as competence matter.  But so does that elusive chemistry factor.  Chemistry, compatibility, and “complementarity” are not just for romantic partners but apply in business as well.  Face it, work gets done through people who possess complementary skills, perspectives, and behavioral styles but who can still get along. 

It’s important to realize that you get a job not just because of your resume and track record but also because of your personality or behavioral style.  People want to be with people they know, like, and trust.  If a particular job opening or posting generates 800 candidates with 800 resumes, the resume that is hand-walked to the hiring manager’s desk by someone they know, like, and trust is going to get attention. 

What does this mean for you?  First, people need to know who you are and what you do in order to refer you or move your resume or proposal to the top of the stack.  And you need to be someone they want to work with because you know how to adapt your style to the needs of the situation and connect to the other person in their language.  I am not saying you should be anything other than your brilliant self.  I am saying you will need to develop your adaptability quotient by learning how to people-whisper in 4 easy steps.

It is also necessary to reframe how you think about corporate politics, networking, selling, and relationship-building.  If any of these words have any negative connotations for you as they do for many, learn to reframe your perception of what they truly mean.  All you are doing is connecting with people.  They get to know you and you get to know them.  Work gets done in the context of relationships through conversations.

In order to do this effortlessly, the 4 step process is as follows:

  1. Know yourself – know your style and needs and your impact upon others.  Know your natural strengths so you can build upon them.  Know your natural areas for growth so you can develop strategies to work around them or supplement them through others who excel in those areas.
  2. Know how to people-read – in my DiSC certifications and one-on-one coaching sessions, I teach people how to read others and to understand how to “do unto others as they would like to be done unto.”  In short, people have different needs and treating everyone the same way doesn’t usually work well.
  3. Speak to the other person in their language – we all come into this world with preferences in terms of how we like to fully and freely express certain dimensions of behavior.  Sometimes it is necessary to turn the dial up or down on certain behaviors in order to put the other person at ease and to meet their needs.
  4. Partner together going forward – once people understand where the other person is coming from and realize that people are unique and special, there is less of a tendency to believe the other is acting in a certain way to be difficult.  Knowledge of oneself and others leads to compassion and greater effectiveness when accomplishing tasks. 

Regardless of economic conditions, knowing how to connect and develop rapport will serve you well.  People will seek you out when the opportunity arises such that you will be in demand when the need is there.

To learn how to apply these concepts and translate them into practical realities for you or your organization, call us at (404) 327-6330 or email us at Laura@lauraadavis.com. Also feel free to check us out on Linkedin and Facebook at Laura A. Davis, to visit our website and store at www.lauraadavis.com, and/or to follow me on Twitter at Coachlad.

DiSC Assessment Application 

Experience the power of self knowledge and understanding first-hand in our upcoming Virtual Webinar series.  In the comfort of your own office without a need to travel or commute, sign up to attend one of our Webinar series today.

Using DiSC is a powerful yet easy to use learning model so that people can learn to understand and appreciate their personal priorities and the priorities of others.  This understanding allows them to better connect with their colleagues, improving the quality of workplace relationships – one relationship at a time.

The virtual showcase gives you the opportunity to experience Everything DiSC Workplace and see if it is right for your organization.  From the comfort of your own office you’ll get insider information on an easy-to-use program that helps you create productive and effective working relationships NOW.  This is relevant for recession-proofing your career and for achieving organizational goals.

WHY ATTEND?

As an attendee you’ll receive:

  • Your own personalized Everything DiSC Workplace Profile.  This 20-page report gives you insight into your workplace priorities and what you bring to the table.
  • Expert information from a member of Inscape Publishing’s senior executive team.
  • Virtual experience with Everything DiSC Workplace from a learner’s perspective by viewing all new workplace-specific video, and reviewing possible classroom activities.

EVERYTHING DiSC WORKPLACE VIRTUAL SHOWCASE DATES AND TIMES:
July 15, Noon to 1:30 PM Eastern
July 21, Noon to 1:30 PM Eastern
July 23, Noon to 1:30 PM Eastern

HOW TO REGISTER:

To register, call us as soon as possible as slots are going fast.  Call 404-327-6330 and leave a Voicemail as we will get back to you as soon as possible.  Likewise, you can email us at Laura@lauraadavis.com and be sure to specify which Webinar time you can commit to and we will register you and send you access codes for the report and provide further details you will need to participate fully.  The fee to attend the Everything DiSC Workplace Virtual Showcase is an incredibly low price of just $30 per participant.  Since it is a Webinar, all you will need is a phone line and a computer with high speed internet access.
   
Transformational Coaching Tip 

When dealing with the overwhelming feelings that massive change can bring and perhaps feeling a tad cranky about it, nothing is a better antidote than a good belly laugh.  It’s no surprise to me then that the current number one UTube video is a cute baby boy just laughing – but over 15 million viewers?  When I had a down moment earlier this week, it lifted my spirits.  Sometimes it comes down to simple things to refresh and rejuvenate.  If you are in the throes of change or need a little refreshing in the summer heat, here are some quick tips guaranteed to make you smile and lighten your heart. 

  1. Have a good belly-laugh!  Researchers say that a good laugh increases blood flow, reduces blood pressure, and releases endorphins which are natural pain-killers that increase well-being.  Not only is it fun, it is good for you!
  2. Honor your past and what brought you here today.  Many of us Baby Boomers have taken a trip down memory lane recently with the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett.  I am going to my high school reunion over the 4th of July.  Looking at yearbook photos is sure to guarantee a laugh and a change in perspective.
  3. Hang out with a 4 to 6 year old.  Children this age see the world as if it were magic, and we can learn a lot from them.  It is said that young children laugh over 100 times a day while adults may only laugh a couple of times daily if that.  Vow to lighten up – this too shall pass.
  4. Treat yourself to a childhood goody.  While the 4th of July holiday is now past, you can keep the spirit alive by playing with sparklers, having watermelon or ice cream, or better yet, corn on the cob with butter.  In my family, we had these fun corn on the cob replicas that you poked into the side of the cob so your fingers wouldn’t get too greasy (they probably have an official name I’ve forgotten).  Remember the Norman Rockwell-like moments of your childhood.  Almost everyone has some memories like that to smile about.
  5. Watch a silly but uplifting movie.  For me, “Legally Blonde” does it every time and it just happened to be on TV last night when I couldn’t do another “to do” for the life of me.  The thought of Elle Woods in pink at Harvard is just so silly and yet so profound at the same time.  Some corporate cultures could lighten up and take note.

Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July holiday.  I am honoring the talented heart and soul of the man who was Michael Jackson today, and am happy to see that people are celebrating his life and contributions.

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.