Monday, December 26, 2011

New DAY Resolutions

Having a big, audacious goal is wonderful - but the only way to achieve it is one step at a time. So, instead of focusing on tackling the large-scale resolutions for the new year, try accomplishing them by focusing on the incremental improvements EVERY day.

Simply said, do what world-class leaders do: Resolve to be better today than you were yesterday. Every day, take a measurable advancement toward your larger goal.

Take time daily to consider specific goals for that day. Something do-able that is a legitimate improvement regarding your physical, mental, emotional, financial, or spiritual health. Ideally, some small thing in each catagory - but don't aim too high at first. The strategy is to grow into the habit of making healthy habits! Perhaps start with one area each day - rotate them or prioritize them based on what motivates YOU best.

Then (this is critical), you must DO something that day. Your efforts must be DAILY in order to create a habit. The key is to NOT break the chain of behaviors. No matter what, do SOMEthing. It is the consistency that ingrains the behavior into your life for ongoing, sustainable results.

One great tip is to establish a "5 minute kick start". You can do ANYthing for 5 minutes - then decide at that point if you want to continue. (It's astounding how often a 5 minute workout - or any other temporarily distasteful "good for you" activity - can turn into a full-blown workout, just from starting!) You'll find that it eventually gets to be a that helps make you the "YOU!" you've aspired to be all your life!

Think about it. But more importantly do something about!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bringing Learning To Life

Sometimes I get really frustrated at how people settle for less than they should. Have you ever asked yourself why more people/organizations aren't achieving their potential?

So, how do the most successful leaders bridge the gap between knowing and doing - and get better results that the average people? There are several keys to this elusive process:

Value it. Identify WHY you want to do it. Consider your motivation for starting - regarding the ultimate outcome or benefit. Many times, people surprise themselves by realizing they really do NOT care enough about the outcome to initiate action. If you are sufficiently motivated, then this provides the fuel for your efforts - but you still need the rest of the formula. Your plan must include accountability throughout the remainder of this 4 step process.

Know it. Here's a surprising factoid: People generally don't fail because they are ignorant. In my experience, about 85% of the time, I hear people say "I know that", but then they fail to DO that effective behavior. Those who get results make sure to know What AND How. Often, people think they know, but there is a gap between what they know (vague, big picture) and what they need to know (relevant details). This extra effort separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.

Do it. Skills require more than knowledge. The next step is to translate internal knowledge to external behaviors. Experiment. Practice. Try new things. The key is START! Getting "hands on" with the idea as soon as possible is vital. Habits/success are created by consistent behaviors. Make sure you are practicing your new skills every day. The cumulative total of your actions is what ultimately gets the results.

Share it. Once you've actually achieved some level of success, the best way to solidify the experience (for yourself and for your organization) is to teach it to others. Provide opportunities for colleagues to attempt the new behaviors in the same kind of process you used. You'll find that "teaching others to fish" will help you to multiply your results AND leave a legacy of excellence - optimizing YOUR life!

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Your Personal Pre-Shift Meeting

Wouldn't it be great if EVERYone consistently did the right thing on a regular basis? How do the best leaders accomplish this? Well, one example is Ritz-Carlton. Like other world-class companies, they are known for consistent behaviors because they stay focused on common values - and the behaviors that reflect those values.

The key is consistency of communication and accountability. Every Ritz-Carlton property - and every department at each property - hold a pre-shift meeting where everyone participates in a reminder about that day's assigned value. As part of this process, they discuss examples of what behaviors have/can bring that value to life for that day (with the understanding that every value should be lived each and every day), with ongoing feedback. Since the information is constantly "top of mind", it becomes easier (and more natural) to reinforce what behaviors are appropriate and why.

You can do this for yourself! Generate YOUR most important values/standards and then at the beginning of each day, one at a time, focus on how to bring that day's value to life in action - whether it be with journaling, meditation, or discussions with a colleague. Then rotate around to the beginning of your list when you get to the end. Consider it a daily action plan - and an opportunity to communicate through word AND deed what you value most.

Over time, you will find what Ritz-Carlton has found - the behaviors that reflect YOUR personal values will become a habit, and you will enjoy the benefits of a life of true integrity. Simple (and low cost) actions with profound results.

Think about it. But more importantly do something about!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Discovering Your/Their REAL Priorities

Sometimes, interpreting priorities can seem difficult. Whether making decisions for yourself or trying to better understand someone else, getting a handle on inner values is a critical step in this very important process.

So, is there a surefire way to eliminate the mystery of someone's true internal priorities? Absolutely! All you need to do is watch where they invest their resources of time, money, and energy.

When something is important to a person, they will spend more hours focusing on that issue. You can easily measure how much time and money they spend and observe how much effort they choose to spend as well. Yes, choices. These behaviors are not by accident - they align with what's inside. Inner values/priorities leak out in the form of behaviors. This is why we typically communicate better in person - depending more on observable behaviors than merely relying on their words.

Keep in mind that the same goes for you as well.

If you're ever unsure about what is most important to you, think about the things that you choose to focus on every day. What are your priorities when spending the most precious elements of Life (time and energy) or the token of the value we bring to society (money)? These will be very strong indicators of where your internal passion/values are.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Getting Your OWN PhD

Yes, we all agree that developing yourself is an important strategy for improving your results in life. But who has time/resources to pursue learning all the things that can help you grow to who you want to ultimately be - both professionally and personally?

You do.

Want to know a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to grow dramatically in the direction of your unique, personal dreams in just one year's time? Instead of the huge commitment involved in enrolling at a university for an advanced degree, create your own customized program in the living laboratory of your life! Try this little strategy:

Identify the top 6 areas of knowledge or skills that you need most to attain the professional or personal goals of your dreams. Next, dedicate 2 months per topic and begin researching the "best of" information available to you. You can begin with as simple as an Internet search. Try "(topic)" + "best" + "list" (add other search words such as "thought leader" or other terms to best target your research.) As you land on valuable information, save/print/study/learn the information as you need to develop you for the attainment of your goals.

On your terms.

If your goal is skill-based, you can augment your online studies with local hands-on opportunities (locate professionals in your area to help you experience the skill-building you want.) Maybe this looks like job shadowing. Maybe it is a local trades/craft class you can take at night/on weekends. Get creative! Again, YOU drive your development.

The beauty of this approach is threefold. 1. You can do this on your schedule - when it is convenient for you. 2. You can get as in-depth and detailed as you desire - in ANY direction of content, with no one else adding irrelevant content that you don't want. 3. It is virtually a free "directed independent study" program - created by you - for you.

Bottom line: With minimal investment of time, money, and effort - you can make tremendous strides in your own development. Don't be discouraged by the expensive, long-term formal education options. You have alternatives! Go out and make the opportunities that are at your fingertips each and every day. With a little discipline, you'll be amazed at what you will accomplish with a little extra effort each and every day.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!