January 16, 2021

Are You Being Limited By Your Assumptions?

In business and leadership, we all spend a great deal of time living with assumptions that are just no longer relevant.  Our outdated beliefs, the way we operate, the books we read and the people we spend time with help contribute to our dedication to those assumptions.  If we live with outdated assumptions, we will never get ahead and be as successful as we want to be.  We all have to be constantly challenging our assumptions to see if they are serving us or holding us back.

As I am writing about this, I cannot help but think about people who have challenged assumptions only to become some of the world’s greatest business leaders.

Steve Jobs Jobs challenged the assumption that the only way to get access to legal music was to buy it from a music store and to buy it on a CD that included at least a dozen songs.  He looked at what Napster was giving away for free (illegally of course), and he saw the ability to download 10,000 individual songs onto a small device that could fit in the palm of your hand.  Anyone can now buy just one song on iTumes for a little over $1.00, and most brick and mortar business stores have said good-bye to the consumers of music.

Fred Smith, Founder of Fed Ex: In the shipping business, there was an assumption that the fastest way to get a package to a buyer was to ship it directly.  Smith then thought of shipping the package to a central hub in Memphis, TN and then to get the packages from there to the shipper using all shipping logistics…to make things quicker and more efficient.  His idea was comical to many, and Fed Ex was born.  I don’t know about you, but I just don’t think I could make it without Fed Ex.  I love having something I need now delivered overnight.

Ted Turner The old assumption was one that said that news would be delivered for 30 minutes each evening around 6:30 or 7:00 Eastern, and that would be it for the day.  Then, Ted Turner had an idea…What if news could be delivered 24 hours a day?  We could get breaking news out immediately as it was happening.  Again…people thought Turner was crazy!  Yep…crazy like a fox, and CNN was born.

Tom Anderson,  Founder of My Space The old assumption was that talking, texting or email were the only ways people could communicate.  Then My Space came along (yes…before Facebook), and people began communicating in online communities and sharing their lives with the world.  Other social networking platforms popped up, but My Space was the first big one that broke through the ceiling.

In leadership coaching, I am always asking my clients to look at any limiting, outdated beliefs, systems, procedures or processes that may be getting in their way of success.  I encourage you to do the same.  These four people did not let their old belief systems get in their way.  They knew what the public wanted even before they knew they wanted it.   As someone who orders about 50% of my household goods, clothing and shoes online, like the ones in ShoeFinale and who listens to my iPod everyday, I cannot imagine life today without the above four people challenging their assumptions and bringing new products and services into my life that do make life easier and more fun.

As I close this post, I want to ask you “What assumptions are you holding in your mind that are getting in your way of success?”  I encourage you to leave your comments below.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Leadership Coaching Questions to Challenge Your Clients

Leader Being ChallengedOne of the skills that leadership coaches bring to the table for their executive clients is the ability to challenge them.   If you are coaching a leader who is at the C-level, they may not be challenged enough by their colleagues, and as a leadership coach, you have an incredible opportunity.

With the skill of challenging the client, you may be:

  1. Asking the leader to step up to a bigger game
  2. Pointing out inconsistencies in answers and behaviors
  3. Holding your client accountable to higher standards
  4. Take on a new way of thinking that will push them to the edge of who they are and who they want to become.

The questions I most often ask that seem to really work for my executive clients include:

  1. You seem to me like a big player, but you seem to be playing small right now.  What’s going on?
  2. As someone who has told me you want to be challenged and you are up to big things right now, the decisions you are making seem to be pulling you a few step backwards.   As a coach, how can I help in challenging you to move forward?
  3. My gut is telling me this goal is not big enough for you.  I want to ask you to double the goal.  What would that look like?
  4. I’m hearing you say “I’ll try” or “I might” or “Probably”.  Those sound like they have an open back door…a way for you to get out of this challenge.  I am going to ask you to shift your language to “I will”, and we will then talk about the how of getting where you want to go, that’s how the law of attraction works, so if you believe in something you can achieve it, you could learn more about this here http://www.whatisdestinytuningtechnique.com/law-of-attraction-manifestation/.
  5. You seem a bit wary of this big challenge.  Other people have achieved this goal.  What is the gremlin inside of you telling you about your ability to achieve this big challenge (everyone has gremlins, so get them on the table).
  6. This goal seems a bit narrow and a little weak.  What would it take for you to expand the goal and make it rock solid?
  7. In order to reach this challenge, what behaviors will you stop doing and start doing to accomplish this goal?

There are so many great challenge questions, and I would love to hear from you your list of questions you ask when challenging a client.  Just leave them in the comment section below.

5 Strategies to Ignite Momentum On Your Team

Over the last year, I have heard from the leaders I coach that they just don’t feel like their teams are moving…that their teams once had momentum, and now it’s gone.

Momentum is the impetus of mass in motion.  A business or team that is on an unstoppable success track is said to have great momentum.  Teams that are stuck, not moving, are said to have a low level of momentum.

While the economy is certainly a factor, there are other factors that can get in the way of momentum.  To help your clients get moving again, I would like to share with you five strategies that you can offer up to your leaders as ideas on how to ignite or re-ignite the momentum on their teams.

  1. Gather your team for a “fix it up” day.   In every day life, most humans become accustomed to seeing chipped paint, burned out light bulbs or papers piling up.  As a matter of fact, people can often become so accustomed to looking at broken or messy items in the workplace that they simply don’t see it!  Gather your team, and ask them to go to their individual departments and come back with a list of things that need to be repaired, ditched or completely replaced.  From there, put your team in work pairs, and send them off to fix, declutter or ditch anything that is not working, it’s a bit dull but it gets results.  At the end of the day, your team is going to be excited, because they have probably fixed over 100 things that needed attention, and it will be time to celebrate!  The lesson here is this:  By working on 10-12 new things every day, great things can happen on your team.  Casting a huge vision is needed, but it can often seem and feel very overwhelming, but by challenging your team members to make 10 small improvements every day, this can lead to huge changes over time.
  2. Unlearn!  Too often in today’s business world, C-level leaders have learned a great deal of information that is no longer relevant.  So, it’ tsime to unlearn the old and bring in the new.  This sounds simple, but it is not as easy as it sounds.  Our brains are hardwired to think a certain way and to operate in a particular fashion from years and years of learning and experience.  Today’s world is what I call an “instant cooking” world.  Everything is instant, changing and evolving.  If you are using old information to lead in today’s world, your company is more than likely lagging way behind.  To start this process, simply write out everything you know about leading your team or department, and ask yourself “Is this knowledge still relevant?”  If not, then what new knowledge do you need to learn to get your team or department moving again?
  3. Start being disruptive.  Too often, leaders and teams get stuck in a rut, and they keep going around and around old issues that are dying on the vine.  When that happens, it is then time to stir things up and break the coherency of the patterns you have developed.  If you want to see how other companies are being disruptive, visit http://dailydisruption.com . You will be able to see how both established and new start up companies are taking their companies to the edge by shaking things up, making noise and making way for new ideas to breathe enthusiasm into the team.
  4. Get the right talent on your team.  You may currently have a very competent group of leaders on your team, and you suddenly feel like you are walking in quicksand.  It may be that the current executive team does not have the skills for the next phase of growth for your business.  It may be time to look both inside and outside of your team for talent that will breathe an entrepreneurial or technical form of inspiration into the way you do things.   Don’t assume that your current leadership team has the right skills for your next growth phase .  While they MAY be able to be trained up, there is more than likely someone inside or outside your company who already has the skill set you need.  They could walk right in and with about two days of orientation to what you are up to, they will be off and running with your next project.  You will save yourself a great deal of time and money by making sure you have the right talent on your team for the current project on your desk.
  5. Be coachable and share your coaching with others.  There are literally tens of thousands of coaches out there, and most coaches are pretty darn good at what they do.  The biggest challenge I see is that when leaders hire a coach, they often keep this a secret from their team members.   This is a huge mistake.  With leadership coaching, where the rubber meets the road is in your willingness to practice and share what you are learning with your team members.  Otherwise, you are just sitting on the phone or in a room with a coach having a nice chat.  By being open with others about what you are learning, and applying it in real time, the coaching you are receiving will take on a brand new meaning, and everyone gets to benefit from your newfound knowledge.

Leadership Coaching Questions to Ask When a Client is Stuck

Leader Is StuckIn leadership coaching (and any type of coaching), there will be times when your client is stuck, blocked or living in fear.  I want to share just a few questions I usually ask in this situation:

1.  You seem stuck.  Describe the block or fear.

2.  When you think of this block, what emotion comes up for you? (You may have to name a few emotions such as fear, frustration, doubt, worry or confusion)

3.  What is really stopping you from this big goal?

4.  What is making this so difficult to accomplish?

5.  What do you need that you don’t have to move through this fear?

6.  When you have faced big fear-filled decisions like this in the past, how have you gotten through them?

7.  What are you gaining from not changing or moving through this fear? (In an awkward way, people are usually gaining comfort or safety, because going and addressing the stuck point is usually filled with fear).

8.  What one tool do you wish you had to help you move through this fear?

9.  If you do not move through this fear and achieve this big goal, what might you stand to lose?

10.  What’s the worst case scenario here?  What’s the fear that is driving that worst case scenario?

11.  What is the critical voice inside of you telling you about this big decision?

12.  When you look on the other side of the block, what do you see?

I would love to hear some comments from a few of you with questions you ask to help your clients get unstuck.

For more information on leadership coaching, contact Bea Fields today.

Putting Facebook in Perspective by Mark Bonchek

Social Media MarketingEach day, I am approached by business leaders about the use of social media and how the Facebook, Twitter and Linked In revolution will play out in the business world.  I don’t quite know how to answer that question for the future, but for today:  It is very relevant to be using social media as a way to engage in ongoing dialogue with customers, employees, vendors and the general public.

Earlier this month, Mark Bonchek, blogger for Harvard Business Review wrote a wonderful article, Putting Facebook in Perspective about how social media is coming into view along six trajectories.  This is a must read article for anyone who has any qualms about using social media to build a vibrant community and conversation with your business at the forefront of the conversation.  Very enlightening!

Enhanced by Zemanta

6 Reasons Why You Should Stop Blogging

no bloggingJeannette Paladino sent this blog post along today:  6 Reasons You Should Stop Blogging by Daniel Tynski

This is a must read post for ANYONE who wants to be in business in the next 2-3 years.  Don’t let the title fool you!

I want to add one more reason to his list: You should quit blogging if you want to push Generation Y away (young adults born approximately 1977-1997). This demographic WANTS to interact with you online (and not just through Facebook and Twitter). They want to have a voice in the topics you are writing about. If you only have your old static website, then this is simply your way of showing people who you are, and the perception is “This company does not want to interact with me”. So, if you want to reach a younger demographic, it was time five years ago to start blogging, and you should use a web design company to better your approach to people.

If you are not blogging and are ready to get started,visit Become a Blogging Maniac to learn more about how I can help you.

Are You In The Race For Relevance?

race for relevanceAre You In The Race For Relevance?

If not…it’s time to look at cleaning out your company and heading on home.

Over the last four years, I have been traveling around the country speaking to Baby Boomers (Birth Years:  1946-1964) about Generation Y (Birth Years:  1977-1997) and the huge impact this generation is having on our world.  I also speak extensively about new media (blogging, social networks, apps and smart phones).  The interesting thing is this:  When I talk about these topics, here are the responses I can always count on:

  • What is a blog?
  • So, are you saying that we need to restructure our entire company to meet the needs of Generation Y?  That sounds like pandering.
  • Uh…we don’t have time for Facebook and to try to stop people from using their work time on Facebook.
  • Twitter…that is so stupid.  That is something my grandchildren use.
  • I am so tired of Generation Y and their demands for “custom work hours”.

I honestly have felt like a Southern preacher…going around preaching the demands of the new business world.  I don’t mess around…I tell people that if they don’t get with the program of meeting the needs of our largest adult demographic (Generation Y) and incorporating the use of new media into their business development and marketing plans, they will be out of business by the year 2014.  This is just an estimate of mine, but many people do agree with this date…that the race for relevance is zooming forward and that by 2014, millions of companies are going to be left in the dust.

On the flip side, I hear Generation Y saying these things:

  • This company does not have a blog.  I have no way of interacting online with this company, so I am moving on to their competitor who does blog and who has a presence through social media.
  • This company does not use Facebook or Twitter for networking purposes.  Moving on!
  • I was told in my interview that there would be opportunity in this company…that I would be able to climb the ladder to the top!  What?  Like my dad did who got a pink slip two years ago after 30 years of service.
  • I went to work for this company, and they leave all of the under 30 employees out of the conversation.  We feel like we have a lot to share, and we don’t get a word in edge-wise.

During the last four years, I hope that I have made an impact with a few people, but the majority of people I talk to over 50 just roll their eyes, hoping Facebook will suddenly go away and barking that they are not going to hire the entitled generation (Generation Y)…that they are inexperienced and want way too much.  WOW!  What a big mistake.  Just think of the talent you are missing out on that other companies are scooping up right and left.

race for relevanceSo, since I have not been able to make an impression, there are two people who hopefully will be able to get this message to you. They are Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, authors of the book Race for Relevance.  The book was published over a year ago, but this is a must read for anyone who wants to stay relevant in the business world.  I don’t want to give away the book, but I will tell you that they address in depth the following:

  • The availability of time
  • The way companies are structured (hierarchical structures are collapsing right and left)
  • Consolidation and Specialization
  • The value people expect
  • Demographic shifts (there is a changing of the guard, and the new kids in town:  Generation Y: are the largest demographic in our workforce today, and their needs are not being met)
  • Your competition who IS relevant
  • Changes in technology and the use of new media

I see examples of people that I interact with on a daily basis who are NOT in the race for relevance and those who are.  As an example, I was a member of a group on LinkedIn who spent most of their time “discussing” if people posting blog posts on their discussion board was considered spam.  After a few days of this, I dropped my membership.  I was growing tired of the discussion, and it was adding no value to my life.   While they were doing that, groups like Problogger on LinkedIn begs for great, valuable content on their wall.  Darren Rowse and Company are in the race for relevance.  Just go to their group on LinkedIn, and you will see right there on their discussion page, a list of highly valuable blog posts, and Darren Rowse gets it.  He knows that if he encourages people to share their posts, they will get visibility, the members get valuable content, and everyone wins!  And…I just have to mention that Darren Rowse has over 321,000 people following him online.  While he is not a huge corporation, he is an example of someone who is using every approach mentioned in the book Race for Relevance to build a following of over 321,000 readers and a waiting list of paying customers.

I also want to bring up Jeannette Paladino.  About three years ago, Jeannette attended one of my blogging courses and admitted she was a bit of a technophobe. Jeannette flipped her whole paradigm to the point that she is now one of the most influential leaders on LinkedIn, and she teaches me about the new ins and outs of technology, how to add more value and how to speak more to the younger generations using communication tools that speak to Generation Y.  If you visit Jeannette’s blog Write, Speak, Sell, you will see that she is truly utilizing everything she can to speak to a changing marketplace.  Jeannette will be the first to tell you “If I can do this, so can you!”

So, if you don’t do anything this year, I recommend that you pick up a copy of the book Race for Relevance, and do what the authors tell you to do.  The time to make changes was five years ago, so you really cannot wait any longer.  You have to get bold and make some radical changes if you want to keep up with what is going on in the world.  If you are living in a bubble, thinking you are immune to these changes, I wish you luck.

Bea Fields Companies, Inc. is not receiving any type of benefit, financial or otherwise, by recommending this book and consultants.

For more information on leadership coaching, visit our contact page to email or call Bea Fields.

Do you find it difficult to find time to clean your home and think a Dallas maid service might be a good solution for you? Whether you are an on the go mom or you are a busy professional that works in an office, it can be hard to find time to clean the house when you get off work, and the last thing you want to do is spend time cleaning your home on the weekends. I would like to recommend our partner in business for almost 23 years, the Maid Complete. They are ready to serve you no matter where you need them to be, or wherever your life requires some cleaning.

TED VIDEO: Are We Born to Be Optimistic Rather than Realistic?

In this TED video, Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side — and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.

“Whatever happens, whether you succeed or you fail, people with high expectations always feel better, because how we feel — when we get dumped or we win employee of the month — depends on how we interpret that event.” (Tali Sharot)

For more information on leadership coaching, visit our contact page to email or call Bea Fields.

6 Truths About Leading People

People At WorkAs a leader, you have probably read countless books and articles about how to lead people.  Some of the information you have read in the past is great…some needs to be thrown in the trash.

One of the big problems I have with much of the information out there in books and journals about leadership is that these books focus on the leader…not on the followers.  My belief is and always has been is this:  As a leader, if you know some general truths about people, about what motivates them and what drives them away, you will be a much better leader.  So, today, I want to share with you six truths about leading people.  While these do not apply to every single person out there, these are so common that I feel I need to write about them today.

1.  The majority of people you are leading are doing their best…even if you think they are not.  As a leader, you may have some preconceived ideas and expectations about what your followers should or should not be doing.  The question I have is this “Have you spoken to them about those expectations?”  If not, then this is not their fault…it is yours.  As a leader in today’s world, you have to be willing to place a top focus on the training and development of the people in your company and then be willing to bring in coaching to encourage people and to hold them accountable to their own greatness.  If you are walking around silently complaining about what someone should be doing, there is a good chance your employees don’t know this, and it is up to you to assign someone in your company the job of implementing a world class development program.

2.  People are inspired by public recognition and will do more for you when they get it.  As someone who works with leaders and teams every day, I have heard so many people speak about the lack of public recognition for a job well done.  From my perspective, people are craving recognition, and they are just not getting it, and they are craving recognition for not only big accomplishments but the small things that make the biggest difference in your company.  Why are we doing this to our employees?  My hunch is the old excuse of “We just forgot…or we just did not have time.”  Hmmm…I say it’s time to “make time” for public recognition every day.  The public recognition does not need to be in front of hundreds of people…it could be in front of just one other person, and the employee needs to hear something like this:  “Thank you so much for handling the incoming calls yesterday for 30 minutes.  I cannot tell you how much time this freed up for the whole team to finish the project we were working on.”  So, you name the good deed while explaining how it had an impact on the team and/or your company.

3.  Every person in your company has a different level of readiness for change.  Generally speaking, most people don’t like change, because change challenges us all to go into unknown territory.  Having said that, some people will adapt to change quickly while other people will change gradually over time while others will never buy into the change you are trying to implement.  To expect everyone to jump on board with your change initiative or new idea is almost impossible.  A tool like the DiSC assessment can help you understand a bit about how people view risk and change so that you aren’t blindsided when some people don’t automatically jump on board.   For those people who do not easily buy into change, give them an end date for getting on board. For those people who don’t get on board with your new initiatives, it will be time for a tough conversation.

4.  People are watching you to see if your actions match your words.  Because of the lack of integrity in some of our leaders, our world now looks at leaders through scrutinizing eyes.   They may hear your lips flapping, but they don’t see your actions lining up with the words you speak.  The first rule of integrity is probably “Tell the truth and live the truth, even when no one is looking”.  Right up there with this rule is “If you say you are going to do something or you want your team to act a certain way, you better do it”.  If you don’t, your credibility will instantly become tarnished, and people will lose trust in you and the words you speak.

5.  Not everyone in your company wants to be an “A player” on your team.  Somewhere along the way, company leaders have grabbed onto the idea that every single person in their company wants to “play to their full potential” and “rise to the top”.  This is just not the case.  There are many people in companies who love playing a support role.  They are your “B players”, and they are perfectly content playing that role.  As a leader, if you are going for only “A players” or people who want to get there, I recommend you read the book Topgrading by Brad Smart and then only hire people who have the qualities of the “A players” of the world.  Having said this, I just don’t know how well a company would operate with all “A players”.  I feel that we need people in support roles who don’t want to rise to the top of the company, but that is just my opinion.  The truth is to know that even though you may want everyone succeeding beyond their wildest dreams, there are people who just don’t want that for their lives, and as a leader, you have a decision to make:  You either have a mix of “A and B Players”, or you only hire “A players” who are going to rise to the top of your company.  It’s all up to you.

6.  There is a 99.9% chance that the people in your company are gossiping about you and others.  Let’s face it: People talk about other people in your company.   Of course, they love to spread around the bad stuff, but as a leader, you must be willing to know that there is a grapevine in your company, and it is important to know what is being heard through the grapevine.   I don’t want to suggest that you dwell on this topic, but it is important that you put your ear to the ground enough to know what is being said at the water fountain, over lunch and during breaks about you, your team or your company.  It could be very valuable information that can lead you to making a decision that could turn your company around.

To learn more about the people in your company and what they want from you as a leader, contact me today for a complimentary coaching session.  I am happy to see how I can help you.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Can Tech Companies Continue to Innovate Without Women at The Table?

Women and TechnologyGreat article on Fast Company yesterday:  Can Tech Companies Continue to Innovate Without Women at the Table?

The article makes the case that while “some companies don’t think that diversifying their all white-dude boards will make a difference on fostering innovation, a business case can be made as to why having women at the boardroom table or as executives can significantly increase companies’ profits.”

I think we all need to check out this article.  Women are dominating social networks, they are the biggest group of online buyers and they are often the decision maker when buying just about anything for home and family.  So, check out the article today.  Would love to hear your feedback.

For more information on leadership coaching, visit our contact page to email or call Bea Fields.