how purpose

Make SPACE

Laura Novakowski  -  Oct 15, 2012  -  , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

What happens with all this accumulation and there is no room left – fatigue, dissatisfaction, and disillusionment?  Life keeps getting more and more cluttered; more stuff, more information, more competition, more challenges, more, more, more…

How can we make more room in our lives for increased health, family, productivity, contributions? We can make SPACE.

Select what is important. In Wayne Dyer’s The Awakened Life, he mentioned that when we identify that we as human beings really have one business – the people business. Now I realize that that is my business,  all the other clutter that shows up really moves lower on the responsibility ladder.

Clearly identifying a purpose filled with passion can lead to great discoveries and adventures. This already takes some pressure off and to quote Thoreau – we don’t need to “live lives of quiet desperation,” as we try to own more, do more and be more.

Prioritize our goals. It’s great to have goals. It’s not so great to have copious, competing objectives goals. Come on, you know exactly what I mean. The job, the family, the interests, the wants and needs certainly can stack up and become almost too distracting. Collect all the goals in one area, make a list and establish what is really important. The rest, cross off the list or move to a “someday” list for future reference.

This is where the “selections” need to narrowed down and re-ordered so that the “NEEDS verses the WANTS list.  All too often, we overlook what we need to do and put our wants first to be done comes up to the top.

Assess the choices that affect the quality of character, relationship, work and ultimately life building  Reviewing choices is for quality not quantity.   Buying more stuff may feel great at the time. However, accumulation of stuff leads to more clutter, more stuff to move, clear and clean.

Shakespeare once wrote, “The choices we make dictate the life that we lead.”   Assessing what is controlling our lives, our wallets, our relationships, our work becomes a fabulous space saving exercise. It’s really liberating to evaluate and eliminate all that excess waste.

Collaborate with others. Connecting and building the best relationships is a life giving enterprise.  Collaboration involves being authentic with others and allowing them to be authentic with you. These relationships are build on mutual respect and appreciation.

Collaborative relationships are  “win-win” for all.   No one is doing more than is required or sacrificing time and talent. Cooperation is encouraged. Conflicts are resolved in a healthy manner and mutually agreed upon goals and objectives are met.

Enjoy life. When we know what is important because we have selected our purpose, , prioritize our goals, assess our choices and collaborate with others, we can really enjoy work and life.

Today – choose to make SPACE and see if you don’t have a more positive, enjoyable  day.

The Power of Pain

Laura Novakowski  -  Jul 26, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Pain is symptom and effect, it is not a cause.  It shows up in a multitude of forms.  Pain slows, staggers and often stops us from functioning.  Understanding that pain presents itself helps to get to the source of deeper issues and problems; this is important for growth and change.

The most obvious pain is physical pain. Early manifestations may show up as mild aches and pains.  If the source of the problem is not identified, the symptoms become more acute and debilitating.

Symptoms such as backaches and headaches can range from slightly annoying  to severely debilitating.  The causes are too numerous to list, but if prolonged in duration it becomes important to medical advice.  Other more subtle symptoms may be overlooked and if not investigated can result in devastating physical problems.

Granted a lot more time could be given to pain in the physical realm, but what I believe is just as important to identify the pain shows up in our offices or workspace as well.   I often say to my clients, we can have this conversation in a hospital room or in a boardroom.  Allowed to go unchecked, undiagnosed and untreated, the power of pain can be catastrophic and cancerous to an organization.

Consider the pain that shows up in the office or workplace.  If left undetected, can fester to the point of irreversible damage.

Examples:

  • Employees come to meeting late, unprepared and non participative and leadership allows it.
  • Employers ridicule and reprimand in public and employees accept and scurry away to try to do better or staying below the radar.
  • Communication is unclear, no one questions or challenges.
  • Departments compete and derail and management lives lost sales and customers.

Obviously, this is a very, very short list. When the source of the pain is not assessed, the affects are lethal.  Turnover increases, firings are rampant and arbitrary. The toxins become like nails in a coffin. Reputations are destroyed. Resources are compromised.

Just as, in my opinion, no physical disease is hopeless, neither is cultural disease.  Using a simple model can ultimately heal the organization.  I’d like to reinforce the power of ACTS  to alleviate pain.

  • Leadership needs to assess the results and identify the gaps.
  • The entire organization needs to create a clear vision and values that people can align their goals and performance.
  • Plans and strategies need to support motivation and innovation to transform problems and obstacles into opportunities.
  • Teams  need to be held accountable through best performance practices and standards to overcome challenges in order to sustain and support success and growth.

Yes, it is uncomfortable when pain shows up. That being said, there is power in pain, if one is just willing to investigate and diagnose the true causes of cultural disease.

Build a Culture for Success

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 29, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

One of the most common complaints that I hear from business leaders is about the attitudes of their employees. Backstabbing, backbiting and backbreaking behaviors are tearing companies apart. As a result, business and service suffer.

Interestingly enough, when asked how these same leaders deal with such attitudes, the answers become punish them, avoid them or seek to understand and work with them. I would love to say that understanding and working with them is the most common choice, however experience tells me otherwise.

 

Although in the minority, successful leaders  do find ways to  build a culture for success.

Here are five tips  that successful leaders use to build a culture for success:

  1. Lead rather than manage people. To paraphrase Peter Drucker, “we manage things and lead people.” People are not objects. Trying to move people around like pieces on a chess board will only lead to frustration and disappointment.  Leadership is about expanding positive actions and change. Not controlling or limiting.
  2. Capitalize on talents. People are hired for their ability to do the job.  At least, one who hope that we are not hiring a warm body out of desperation.  Given guidance and direction, complainers become communicators, hiders become researchers and reviewers, saboteurs become innovators.
  3. Provide a focus.  Share and discuss the basic fundamentals of the business: the vision, mission and values. This does not mean emails or memo’s as a reminder. This means investing time to meet face-to-face, to ensure that people can internalize, interpret and digest the fundamentals of the business.
  4. Demand accountability.  Serving as framework,  job descriptions are used to build individual accountability.  First, successful leaders share the business objectives to assist employees to establish goals and action plans. Secondly, timely feedback helps to determine if the employee is on track.  This is not an annual event, but rather, an ongoing commitment to rewarding success and catching problems or failures.
  5. Listen and take action.  Many companies fail because employees don’t feel involved. The industrial age is long gone. The knowledge age is passing. This is the age of applying knowledge and employee engagement.  Learn to listen for what is not said as well as what is said. Ask for what might be left on said. Follow up on complaints. And, take action on suggestions.

A true  story about listening and taking action:

A consultant once solved a problem by leaving a board room and venturing into the basement. Absenteeism was up, productivity down, customer complaints were up and profitability was off by millions of dollars.

He sought out and interviewed some  maintenance staff and learned that air quality in the building was being affected by a faulty piece of equipment.    

“How long has this been going on?” the consultant asked.

The response, “More then a year.”

Whom did you talk with?”  he asked.

Everyone.

Lastly, he asked, “How much to fix?”

The reply, “Forty thousand dollars.” 

The consultant returned to the board room and shared the information.  The president was astonishedHe immediately completed a repair request.

The consultant followed up a few months later to follow up.   Absenteeism was down, productivity was up and profitability was ahead of schedule. The president rather sheepishly thanked the consultant for his assistance.  He also admitted that he now knew that value of listening to little complaints. He realized that often they were symptoms of an easy fix, rather than letting it lead to a costly impacts on the business.

In summary, lead people, rather than manage, capitalize on talent, provide a focus, demand accountability, listen and take action can and often will lead you to building a culture for success.

 

 

 

How Purpose + Energy Overcomes Resistance

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 25, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  Comments Off on How Purpose + Energy Overcomes Resistance

Mark Twain once wrote, “Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

It’s amazing to me how  resistance affects success.  Time and talent are spend on detracting and diverting our energy towards situations, issues and problems that might show up. These de-railers are so consuming that how purpose for life, work, our passions, dreams and goals might be supported is totally lost.

Consider two senarios…

One employee believes in the organization’s vision and values. Is clear on how they can support the purpose and the objectives. Offers suggestions, volunteers, is willing to put in extra time and is supportive of the team.  Their  energy will always, and I do mean always, overcome any resistance that shows up on their path because they are focused on how to achieve the goals rather than the obstacles that are thrown in their path.

Another employee has given the organization’s vision and values lip service.  Is clear on how they must ensure that their own needs are met first.  Continuously holds to the exact hours for work and ensures that their personal time is not infringed up.  Their energy will be focused on helping them get what they want.  Forget what the organization wants and needs.

Does either situation sound familiar?

If so, as leaders and managers of talent, resources and businesses here are some tips to ensure how purpose and energy will overcome resistance.

  1. Share the purpose. In any and all media, clearly communicate the purpose of the organization. When people know their why, their how will show up.
  2. Clarify expectations.  Utilize competency based job descriptions and performance reviews.  How people are expected to meet the requirements of the position and how those requirements are to be met must be shared on hire and reviewed at least quarterly.
  3. Hold people accountable.  Notice and reward people for doing their job and more.  Conversely, be rock solid on the consequences when expectations are not met.

People will actively exert little energy towards success if the target is not clear and the challenges are too numerous to mention. However, when all the members of the team know how their performance and efforts are “meaningful” to the success of the organization, resistance will be overcome.

 

 


 

 


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