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Use the 5-Second Rule and Move Mountains

Posted by on Jun, Wed, 2017 in Motivation | 0 comments

countdown

I’ve just recently read “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins and frankly, I feel like I’ve found a gold mine. Since finishing it, I’ve shifted from being a serial snooze bar junkie to a hop out of bed the second the alarm sounds to start my day.

Here’s the methodology…in order to push through the brain’s resistance to change or lack of motivation, you simply countdown backwards from 5 to 1. It’s as simple as 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – GO! And take action!

Her argument is that we will never be motivated to do things that are difficult, but necessary, in our lives. When we think about that less than appealing task we go into uncomfortable emotions like fear, worry, uncertainty, etc. Then the monkey brain will take over creating wonderful excuses why it is acceptable to us not to do that nasty task. So when you countdown, your monkey brain gets to count (it’s happy) and when you get to “0” you have nowhere else to go but take action!

Funny enough, this technique also works when we have exciting goals we want to achieve and may be intimidated or nervous to begin. When the inspiration to start the task, before any hesitation happens, and dial the phone, begin to write the email, start writing, or whatever task will take you closer to your big goal.

Our brains are wired to continue to take action once we have begun a task – it’s called the commitment and consistency principle. Basically, once we make a decision or choice to take action towards something, we continue to take action that is consistent with that choice. And this is how this countdown process enables us to overcome emotional hesitation and create the results that are really important.

While it’s incredibly simple, I think it’s going to take some finessing to perfect how I use it through the day to attack those things that are not as fun to do. But, given that I have an additional 50 to 60 minutes each day (the time I used to snooze), I think I’ll be able to naturally accomplish more.

Creating Great Teamwork Creates Sold Bottom-line Results at PEER Group

Posted by on Jun, Wed, 2017 in Leadership, Team Dynamics | 0 comments

What happens when two engineers get together to create a work environment where they love to come to work every day? 25 years later you have a team of highly motivated and committed employees that drive an amazing bottom-line.

That is what founders Mike Kropp and Bob Harris have created at PEER Group Inc. Their vision in 1992 was to “love coming to work, love the people, and love our work”. From there, PEER Group® has grown from 2 full-time employees and a handful of contractors in a ‘boot-strap’ start-up to a team of over employees worldwide generating almost $24,000,000 in global revenue in 2016. It’s not just the PEER Group team that recognizes an amazing company culture: PEER Group has been named as one of the Best Workplaces in Canada for the last 5 consecutive years by the Great Place to Work® Institute!Being committed to creating healthy workplace culture, I had to interview a couple of key individuals at PEER Group and share with you some of the great ways they accomplish this success in team and business. Through interviews with Mike Kropp (PEER Group President & CEO) and Janice Retterath (Director of HR & Administration), I learned that PEER Group has intuitively applied On Purpose Consulting’s 5C’s throughout its organization. I believe their success relates directly to their focus on:

Clarity, Communication, Congruency, Collaboration,
and Commitment

 

 

Clarity:

Clarity is having well-defined company values, and the processes to operationalize these on a daily basis in order to achieve your results.

From their first days in business, PEER Group has hired for culture fit by conducting team interviews to ensure that all hires align with the company’s core values. Their ongoing focus on fostering a caring workplace has inspired each decision along the way. For example, PEER Group has a “baby wall” where every child born to an employee has a framed photo displayed to celebrate this life achievement.

Work-life balance is promoted through vacation time – each employee begins with 3 weeks per year and there is flexibility to hold over portions of the holiday to the following year to allow for special holidays and/or to enable international employees to travel home for longer periods.

These are only 2 examples of the many ways that PEER Group’s clarity enables them to operationalize their values.

 

Communication:

Communication will make or break an organization. Ensuring that communication is based on mutual respect by ensuring listening as well as talking is important in creating an effective workplace culture.

In Mike’s words, PEER Group “paints a vision” through sharing the complete finances to all permanent team members including costs, expenses, and revenues. Feedback is invited during this presentation in a session called “Open Mike – Ask Me Anything” where employees do just that – ask their president anything.

Feedback is also encouraged through a suggestion box and an open door policy for direct conversations. In an effort to encourage even more collaboration, later this year PEER Group will roll out a new intranet for better internal communications and replace their existing bulletin board-style tool.

When changes are happening in the organization, such as major renovations, the team is consulted for their input. Given the request from team members, the design of PEER Group’s new office space will include cubicles as the extra privacy enables focus on highly detailed tasks such as complex programming.

 

Congruency:

Congruency is when the leaders’ behaviour is consistent with the declared values of the organization. When this occurs, trust is enhanced, and team dynamics can soar.

The PEER Group leadership team places a high value on caring and teamwork. These values are shown through a solid pay structure, profit sharing, stability and work-life balance. They have created a “family environment” where during lunch times team members feel comfortable sharing personal goals, challenges, and dreams in life. Although he’s company president, even Mike joins the team and partakes in these lunchtime chats whenever he’s not travelling. He’s clear that there is no hierarchy or politics at these meals, just an opportunity to connect with each other.

In addition to the caring and teamwork that happens within the PEER Group walls, the entire company is dedicated to community involvement. Various teams work together to fundraise for local charities.

To help celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary this year, PEER Group’s co-founders also set up a $25,000 Endowment Fund at KidsAbility to help support the thousands of local children who rely on its services.

 

Collaboration:

Once trust is established and maintained, the team will engage in collaborative practices.

During the onboarding process at PEER Group, time is spent ensuring positive collaboration by:

  • Clarifying their policy manual as a guide to create consistency throughout all teams vs. a tool of enforcement.
  • Establishing mentoring relationships as another way to deepen cooperative team work and learning.
  • Assertiveness training which they call “You know what conversations”. It’s their way to have those difficult conversations and facilitate healthy relationships at work.

Beyond onboarding, all employees are encouraged to participate in the company’s mentoring and training programs.

Commitment:

When you actively work on the first 4 C’s, and you commit to your team members, team commitment is the result.

The leaders at PEER group are committed to their employees from the moment of hire. Performance appraisals are a pathway for career planning and development. When promotions happen, it is often from within and team members are given opportunities for training (paid time off for studying and exams) as well as skill development to prepare them for the new role.

Maintaining a core value of integrity and a strong belief that all good things flow from a place of integrity, PEER Group has created a highly committed team. Last year, staff turnover was only 4% due to retirements and career changes. When one individual wanted a career change, the management’s focus became how can we help with your transition? In fact, when one hire did not work out, they found a better fit between skills and job at another organization through the management’s professional network.

PEER Group commits to their team from the moment of hire to often the end of their career (of their employees, 6 % have been employed for over 20 years and 35% have been with the company more than 10 years). Clearly, the 5C’s are alive and flourishing at PEER Group!

As it says on their website: “The word “PEER” in our company name stemmed from the idea of interconnected software objects that communicate with each other as “peers”. Our employees are also the heart of our organization and a “peer group” is a group of like-minded individuals”. This is definitely what I witnessed during my recent visit to the organization’s head office in Kitchener, Ontario.

If You Want To Be Happy…

Posted by on May, Wed, 2017 in Individual Purpose, Motivation | 0 comments

I wanted to change things up and so this week I’ve invited my friend and guest blogger, Lisa Ivaldi, to share her thoughts on Happiness. Enjoy!

Lisa Ivaldi is a writer and blogger in Guelph, ON.  Lisa loves sharing information that will have a positive impact on the world. Her first article was published in Vitality Magazine in 2002 and her monthly personal growth blog has been online since January 2011.  If you are interested in reading more of Lisa’s articles, or inviting her to guest blog, visit her online at InsightClarityGrowth.com.

Chart from Matt Killingsworth Happiness Study

Chart from Matt Killingsworth Happiness Study

Last month I was driving on a lovely stretch of road surrounded by farm fields, trees, sunshine, and blue sky. There was very little traffic and I wasn’t in a hurry. I couldn’t help but feel great. I was smiling and enjoying the scenery and congratulating myself on being in, and savouring, the present moment.

However, my next conscious thought was that my mood had totally shifted. I was frowning and feeling concerned and frustrated even though nothing unpleasant had happened to account for the shift – same blue sky, same beautiful scenery, same peaceful drive. So what had happened?

For several weeks, I had been taking an online course on happiness and had recently finished a segment on the link between mindfulness and happinessMindfulness was defined as “a state in which your attention is not distracted by something other than what’s happening right now.”  The course referred to a mind wandering study by researcher Matt Killingsworth. The purpose of the study was to watch how people’s happiness goes up and down over the course of the day and to “discover some of the things that really have a big influence on happiness”. Thousands of participants were asked three questions at random points throughout the day:

  1. “How do you feel, on a scale ranging from very bad to very good?”
  2. “What are you doing, on a list of 22 different activities including things like eating and working and watching TV?”
  3. “Are you thinking about something other than what you’re currently doing?”  (The participants thought about something other than what they were currently doing a whopping 47% of the time.)

The study found that people are happier when they are focused on the present moment and paying attention to where they are and what they are doing – even if it is not the most pleasant task, like commuting to work.

People are least happy when their minds wander.  A big part of the reason may be that when our minds wander we often think about unpleasant things, which makes us less happy.  However, the study showed that even when people are “thinking about something they would describe as pleasant, they’re actually just slightly less happy than when they aren’t mind wandering.”

And that’s what happened to me during my pleasant drive through the countryside.  My mind started to wander.  I was no longer focused on where I was and what I was doing.  When I noticed the change in my mood I retraced my thoughts to see what happened.  I realized that, as I was enjoying the scenery, I passed a large garden centre which reminded me that I needed to repot some of my plants at home.  That thought led me to think of all the other chores that I needed to do but hadn’t got to yet.  No wonder my mood changed!  I went from enjoying a pleasant drive to stressing about all the chores I needed to do.

I don’t think I fully understood the correlation between mind wandering and unhappiness until that moment in the car.  The change in my mood was dramatic and only happened because my mind wandered to a less pleasant place.

So now when I notice myself slipping into an unhappy state, I try to stop and step back from my thoughts so that I can discover where my mind has been.  Dr. Raj explained in the happiness course that by stepping back, you put distance between you and your thoughts and emotions which causes your thoughts to slow down and your feelings to lower in intensity.  Your whole system calms down and you feel more tranquil and less stressed.

So, if you want to be happier (perhaps up to 47% of the time), try to be mindful and keep your attention on what is happening right now.

To Discern, To Decide and To Correct Course

Posted by on May, Wed, 2017 in Team Dynamics | 0 comments

discerning

As a business leader or owner, making a myriad of decisions each and every day is only one aspect of your responsibilities. So, how do you discern what’s relevant, and how do you make the best decision?

  1. What are the multiple options available to you? When time allows, write these possibilities down. Then consider what are the facts, impressions, pros, and cons of each scenario?
  2. Have an open mind and listen to information that may appear counter-intuitive to the situation or that is against your way of thinking. Encompassing all these pieces of information that impact the decision will improve your outcomes.
  3. Consider the patterns you have witnessed in similar situations. How might these patterns influence this situation?
  4. Discernment is about knowing all the “facts” and going to an even deeper level so that you know within yourself that you have made the best possible decision for the time. Sometimes, you need not worry about the “right decision” but instead, let it unfold. So few decisions are cast in stone – you can make another choice tomorrow if there needs to be a course correction.
  5. Take the time to check in with yourself. It can be helpful to imagine the situation taking one option and notice how that feels in your body. Then take several deep cleansing breaths. Next, imagine the next option, how does that feel? And so on. Take notes of each option and your “gut feeling”.

Decisions have multiple layers and factors which can be influenced by many people. Discerning what are the relevant factors and the relevant influences are important. Some of the “facts” may not be most important.

Use your inner compass – sharpen your tool and set course. Then as needed, course correct.

Course corrections are not mistakes, but simply noticing the outcomes of your decisions and making the next best choice that is most appropriate in the new scenario.

How to Perform a Self-Leadership Audit

Posted by on Apr, Wed, 2017 in Leadership | 0 comments

April 26

As a leader, what are you trying to achieve? What is important to you? What behaviours do you see that benefit yourself and others you lead?

These are all very valuable questions to ask yourself on a regular basis. Having a scheduled self-review process you can champion your wins and set goals for your challenges. So here is a self-audit process that you can use:

  1. Create a specific list of skills and abilities that you believe leaders need to possess to be successful. If you are stuck, check out the leadership books on your bookshelf. You might need to dust them off and look at the table of contents or read a relevant chapter. Or ask your team members what the most valued aspects of a leader are for them. You will want to consider areas such as communication, respect, interpersonal relationships and so on.
  2. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 where you see yourself in this area. Now, don’t be like many leaders who exclude 10 in performance appraisals because we can never be perfect. While perfectionism is a problem given our humanness, we can rate a 10 when we are really rocking a category. Give yourself and others credit when it is due.
  3. Next, write a plan of your areas for improvement in all aspects that you’ve listed. Then choose 1 area as a highest priority and begin to write out specific steps your will take including books and resources that you’ll use as you take action on these goals.
  4. Go to your calendar and schedule appointments to work on these goals. Set out a minimum of 3 to 5 hours each week to make this area a high priority. While you might need to have several smaller chunks of time scheduled during the week, you definitely need to take the time to integrate and shift that behaviour.
  5. Now consider what you need that you do not currently have to support these goals. Do you need more knowledge such as a book or a course? Do you need to better understand how to shift this area? Perhaps you need an accountability partner. Do you need a mentor, or coach?
  6. In one month’s time, re-evaluate all the areas again and pick the highest priority. You are likely to find that focusing on one area will improve other areas as well. For example, if listening is the skill you are working on, then it is quite likely that you will notice an improvement in your communication skills. Make sure you take the time to celebrate your progress! Then repeat the process for that month.

Audits and plans are only useful if they are following and administered on a regular basis. Hit and miss efforts will result in hit and miss results. Commit to yourself to make these shifts as they will make your life more enjoyable and rewarding. You deserve to be a priority and your personal development is important to a feeling of success and accomplishment.

5 Things to Review if you have Lost Your Compassion

Posted by on Apr, Wed, 2017 in Individual Purpose | 0 comments

Practice Compassion

I was chatting with a colleague last week and we were talking about a difficult situation for someone in their relationship. Her comment was “and she still stayed [in the relationship]?” This comment struck a chord with me as we can often lack compassion with our colleagues, team members, and direct reports.

Can you remember a time in your life when you needed more understanding and compassion than you received? If yes, then you know how challenging and even debilitating that can be.

So why is it that we may exhibit a lack of compassion?

  1. We may be experiencing burnout and no longer have capacity for kindness and caring. Perhaps we’ve forgotten to make ourselves a priority, or life has been challenging. If this is you, go to your calendar and schedule some “me time” with an activity that is fun and recharging for you. It may be a vacation, a session with your business coach, or therapist. Or simply going to a funny movie and allow yourself to laugh. Make yourself a priority.
  2. We need more information to understand another’s perspective. As humans, we see things from our point of view and we can fall into making assumptions based on our lives and what would or wouldn’t be okay for us. It is helpful to ask yourself is there is another way of seeing this situation that I’m overlooking? Or, if you have the relationship with the person, sit down and ask more questions with genuine curiosity to gain a bigger perspective.
  3. Perhaps you have fallen into “judgment mode.”  You see that, from your perspective, the other person has made a bad choice or engaged in a bad behaviour. While this may be true, you would be well served to ask yourself “What might have happened for me to make a similar decision?” While you may not agree with the person’s decision, having compassion for their situation is still an option and can help to build understanding and a deeper relationship.
  4. We’re caught up in our own values. When we perceive that someone is crossing our values, our core beliefs get triggered, and we can become emotionally unavailable. Subconsciously, you might be trying to protect those values that are near and dear to you. We all have different values, and understanding and appreciating each other’s values is respecting one another.
  5. Poor or unclear boundaries. When we aren’t clear on what our boundaries are, or we haven’t taken the time to be clear about them with others. Reflect on what your boundaries need to be and share this information in a clear, calm manner. When we feel like people are railroading us, we need to stand up for what we need and ask for their respect.

Whatever might be causing your slip of compassion, take some time to reflect and look at what you need to do to shift from judgment to understanding. When we really understand each other, we can create meaningful work relationships and support one another more fully.

An Inside Peek of Team Dynamics

Posted by on Mar, Wed, 2017 in Team Dynamics | 0 comments

March 29 An inside peek

A few months ago, I wrote the blog An Intriguing Leadership Path about a local company that highly values team dynamics. It got me to thinking about what really happens inside the team on a day-to-day basis. So I contacted them and asked to interview some of their team members about their worst day at Intrigue Media and how they coped with it. Here’s what I found out.

Even with such focus on the culture, they have challenges from time to time. As co-owner Rob Murray states, “We’re not perfect, we have our challenges, too.” Perhaps what is so different is how they behave when these struggles arise.

  1. They assume that other team members are doing their very best. From that premise, they support and encourage one another. Rather than criticizing errors, they sit down and roll up their proverbial sleeves to problem solve and create new solutions – even if it takes the dedication of an intensive 4-hour meeting to do so! The goal is to build capacity and create innovative solutions.
  2. When difficulties arise with clients, team members share their struggles. The culture of open and honest communication ensures that when a problem arises, no team member is isolated or alone in dealing with the challenge. Instead team members are met with compassion and understanding. The team gets to the bottom of it by talking it through and assisting the team member to understand how they might look at the situation differently. For example, what can they learn about themselves to be better equipped should a similar situation occur in the future?
  3. When they find themselves working beyond the 40-hour work week, the situation is explored to discover what lead up to it. In this process, they might realize how they could have asked others to take on certain tasks. Then they review how the organization might run even more efficiently. This has been the birthing ground for improved processes in the organization. The goal of their organization is high-quality work coupled with work-life balance.

The time spent on team and self-reflection pays dividends for the company. In terms of client satisfaction, these interpersonal reflection processes drive productivity, creativity and, ultimately, improve the client experience. The final result is happy team members and happy clients!

Are You Using Your Inner GPS to Guide Your Success in Business?

Posted by on Mar, Wed, 2017 in Individual Purpose | 0 comments

Follow Your Intuition Directional Sign On Guidepost

When we are driving to unknown areas we use a GPS, so when we are maneuvering through a decision, why not use our internal GPS system? If Oprah, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have relied on it and it creates great success through their choices why wouldn’t you?

Of course, I’m talking about using our intuition…that internal compass that responds to situations. I believe we all have the ability, and some of us have honed it to a finely tuned instrument.

Whether you believe that intuition is a deeper recognition of patterns from your vast storehouse of life experiences OR it is a spiritual knowing that provides insights to guide you, there are several things that you can do to hone this valuable resource.

Here are some techniques to help recognize your inner GPS:

  1. Take time each day to sit in quiet reflection. Meditate, listen to relaxing music, walk in nature, take a shower, or whatever “non-activity” brings you to a calm place.
  2. When making a decision, after listening to all the relevant information you need to spend time to get in touch with your “gut feeling”. How is your body responding? Does it feel heavy and uncomfortable or light and calm? These are common sensations people experience when getting inner GPS signals – light and calm is often a “yes”. While the heavy sensation could be a warning that something is not right.
  3. Notice when you get a “gut feeling” and reflect upon it. It can be helpful to make a quick note or even journal about these experiences until you get a clear sense of how to interpret your sensations. Also take note of the outcomes of these “hunches” – were they accurate? Did you listen? What was the outcome?
  4. When brainstorming solutions, take the time to set aside the “facts”, breathe and relax… what comes to mind? If you have the time, as you fall asleep that night you can ask for insights to create the best outcome. Or take a walk or another quiet activity to get in touch with your “gut”.

Some people experience intuition like a small voice inside their head, while others get a spark of inspiration with a new idea or solution. Others feel a strong pulling toward or away from an idea. Whatever way you experience your inner GPS, begin to listen to it even more.

It’s important to listen to this inner voice – if Oprah, Branson, Buffet and Gates got to where they are using it…can you afford not to?

Is it a Job, a Career, or a Calling?

Posted by on Mar, Wed, 2017 in Team Dynamics | 0 comments

New Mindset For New Result

How do your team members define their work?

Mindset plays a huge role in our level of happiness, and performance at our work. While studying cleaning staff at the University Hospital, Amy Wrzesniewski’s team learned that there was a great variance in how team members who did the same work described their role. Some of the cleaners described the job descriptions such as cleaning rooms. Others, who had the same tasks to complete, described themselves as an ambassador of the Hospital. So what does this mean?

  1. Individuals, who view their role as a “JOB” of specific tasks they must complete, tend to be less content and see their work as a means to a paycheque. As a result, while they may complete the tasks, their level of satisfaction is lower. Meaning that they may be less committed to your organization.
  2. Those who described their work as “CAREER”, where work is a requirement and success is strived for, tend to be more successful, yet focus on what they gain as a result. That might be seeking recognition and a paycheque.
  3. The third group who view their work as a “CALLING”, tend to work harder and find their work much more meaningful. In addition, they tend to have greater job satisfaction and higher commitment to their organization.

How do you increase those with a calling in your organization and minimize the “jobbers”?

  1. Consider how you listen in job interviews. Are individuals talking about the purpose of the work? You might wish to ask questions like, “What was most purposeful in your work at XYZ Company?”, or “What was most meaningful to you in your last position?” Listen for tasks being described vs. purpose driven words such as “it meant a lot to me”, or their values being identified.
  2. For those who are currently your team members, it can be helpful to ask them to list their required job tasks. Then ask them to take the time to write down their responses to, “What is the value of this task?”, and “What is the greater purpose of this task”. Then have them ask themselves, “What bigger result does fulfilling this task lead to?”
    Encourage them to keep writing and answering these 3 questions until they reach a purpose or value that is meaningful to them. Once they uncover that they have more of a “calling”, they are more likely to engage in the task simply to work on purpose!

Mindset determines how much we dedicate to each task – the more meaning we place on any given task, the more of a calling and less of a chore it becomes. Shifting from a list of “to dos” to a list of purposeful responsibilities will increase happiness and contribution.

7 Ways To Engage Employees Who Are Experiencing The February Blahs

Posted by on Feb, Wed, 2017 in Motivation, Team Dynamics | 0 comments

thermometer

By now you are deep in execution of the goals and target for first the quarter of the year.

Why is it that February is the shortest month of the year and yet it seems the longest? Of course, it’s the dipping of the thermometer. While the temperatures outside are dipping, you need to make sure that the motivation of your team members remains inspired.

Success and employee motivation requires celebrations along the way. How can you celebrate the successes of your team for this quarter?

  1. You could have a contest to get colleagues to recognize other’s contributions…who ever puts the most positive feedback wins. Make the prize the title of “team advocate” or a gift of some sort if budget allows.
  2. Every charity I know uses a Big Thermometer as a gauge when under a fundraising campaign. You could make a chart and place it in the board room or even break room and have your team members write their individual successes and the successes of others.
  3. Have a team meeting specifically to celebrate successes – you could even make up “awards” to give out.
  4. Have a potluck luncheon party that celebrates the hard work your team is doing. Make it a theme or find a way to bring appropriate humour – such as sharing your favourite YouTube Video (grandmother approved, of course!). Laughter is a great way to get the endorphins going which improve mood and health.
  5. Set yourself out to catch your employees in the act of doing something well or amazing and find a way that suits their personality to celebrate it – whether its a personal note on their desk, or announcing it in a team meeting or something in between.
  6. Check in with each employee for a coaching session to connect and support their work to date. Ask what they need to reach their next target. As a manager, your support can go a long way.
  7. Write a card to each employee telling them why you see them as a V.I.P. in your department. Invite team members to write their cards to each other.

Keep the vision of the temperature gauge in mind and be conscious of how you can increase the temperature of employee engagement. Celebrate successes along the way and help employees through the challenges month.

See how far your team thermometer can rise!