sustainability

Charge Challenges and Change!

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

Already thinking a typical day is starting. Too little time, money, resources and/or the wrong resources become more and more the prevalent thought with each passing day. Energies and spirits sometimes feel like an all time low. And, often times, the “What I do doesn’t matter” attitude prevails. Turning around circumstances, situations and cultures can seem and often is a daunting task.

So what the heck we might as well go back to bed or worse yet, go into the day with little or no motivation. Off to work we go.

A memo shows up on our desks…

Looking for Volunteers –
Individuals that Will Charge Challenges and Change
Need to Bring: Mind, Heart and Soul

Already feeling different – excited, scared, overwhelmed, intimidated or perhaps a little interested? Guess what? No matter what role we play changing and charging challenges is pretty much what is required of us in work and life everyday.

The choice we have today is to be the one who changes and charges those challenges as they show up. Go for it –  Charge challenges and change!

Nurture Growth and Embrace the Results

Laura Novakowski  -  Oct 22, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

“Live your beliefs and
you can turn the world around.”
Henry David Thoreau

There is a parable that tells of a farmer who decided to plant a Chinese Bamboo tree, one of the most difficult trees in the world to grow. He planted the seed. For days, weeks and months, he gently and faithfully tended the seed.

At the end of year one, no tree had grown. People in his community thought he was crazy. He was tending a mound of dirt. Didn’t he know that the seed was dead. Another year passed and still he tended that mound of dirt. Another year passed and still he tended the spot where he had planted the seed. This continued for two more years, no sprouts, nothing. By the fifth year, people really believed he had lost his mind and ridiculed him.

Suddenly, three months into the fifth year the trunk of a tree shot out of the soil stretching high into the air. Five years and three months later a seemingly dormant seed grows 90 feet!

My point…

Often times, we make the choice to start taking action on a dream and plant a seed. At first, we receive a great deal of support.   People are excited for and with us. Cheering us on, they want to share in our idea, our dream our passion. Time passes and nothing has sprouted. No tree has broken the ground; people stop asking us how our idea is going. We still want and need to talk about it but we are alone.

Rain or shine, our dream still needs to nurtured and tended. Economics cause us to tighten our belt as money, resources and support become even more scarce. Once in a while there are a few believers but for the most part we are on our own.  Seasons pass and still we trudge on investing time, blood, sweat and tears.

To keep our dream alive we find new ways to nurture the soil. We repair strained relationships, cultivate new ones. We seek advice. Learn more lessons. Network more. Play and work differently. Adding different perspectives, we travel out of our comfort zone because although we are tired and bloodied, our head is unbowed.

BAM! One day, that tree bursts from the soil and stands in front of us 90 feet tall.

Just planting the seed would not have been enough. Day-in, day-out, investing talent, courage, determination and passion has to continue. Then the day comes when we can see, feel, taste and touch that 90 foot tree in front of us.

Are you willing to not just plant that seed, but to cultivate and nurture it so  that it will generate significant growth,  so that one day you too can embrace significant growth in your business,  your community,  your life?

Are You Clear About What You Want?

Laura Novakowski  -  Oct 01, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

One would think that when a person is asked what they really, really want in work, in life, in a relationship, that the response would be immediate. Surprisingly, or perhaps, not so surprising, the responses are: silence… or “Let me think for a minute,” or more sadly, “I really don’t take time to think about what I really want, I’m too busy doing.”

Silence or “Let me think for a minute”

These two are interesting responses. to me, they indicate that the person is stopped short for several reasons.

  1. Genuinely,they need time to give a thoughtful response because it is important to them.
  2. Actually, they am afraid to express what they really want
  3. They need to think about a response that will sound interesting and important enough to share and impress others.
  4. They don’t trust me and so are not willing to share.

This third response, “I really don’t take time to think about what I really want, I’m too busy doing,” can mean many things, but my mind jumps to the following:

  1. They are not willing or able to invest thinking time in themselves to fully appreciate what they really want.
  2. They are not used to stopping all the crazy busyness to think
  3. They don’t fully understand how import knowing what they really want is to themselves and to others involved with them.

Whatever the reasons or stories we have for not clarifying what we really want, it has become profoundly clearly to me, that this is one of our greatest limiting factors in success in business and joy in life. The more we are clear about what we want, the more likely we  are to attract that which we want, whether it be positive or negative,  into our life and work.

Please consider finishing this sentence, it might just change your life.  What I want out of life is…

Or in the words of Henry David Thoreau….will you “live your life in quiet desperation?”

Leadership is About Responding with Ability

Laura Novakowski  -  Sep 24, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

In a recent interview, an executive was discussing, although it sounded suspiciously like complaining to me, how disastrous the business had become.

The interviewer questioned if he had read a significant reform document that would have massive impacts on his business and the industry at large.

The exec’s responded, “I didn’t have time to read the document.”

He, the interviewee, then asked the interviewer what were the three or four major issues that reform was addressing. Fortunately, she knew the answers.  (She had read the reform in preparation for the meeting.) It was clearly apparent that she was much more prepared as an outsider to deal with his industry change than he was as the so-called expert.

The interview continue along the same vein, for each question, he didn’t know and then he would asked her a question. Great technique if you hold to the philosophy that you only asked questions if you already know the answer. Clearly, he didn’t have a clue regarding what his responsibilities were as the leader.

Close to the end of the interview, you could actually see the light bulb come on in this guy’s brain. “I know. I’ll tell the board that I am forming a committee to address these issues and that the committee will be meeting weekly to discuss. What do you think?” he asked of the interviewer.

She looked totally astonished and quickly ended the interview.

Great lesson from this interview, be aware of owning the role, being able to respond with ability and come across as the leader who is truly in command.

What is Leadership?

Laura Novakowski  -  Aug 25, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Peter Drucker ‘s definition of leadership:

“Leadership is not magnetic personality– that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”–that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s  vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

 

It’s one thing to manage, to control, to dictate. It is quite another thing to demonstrate
extraordinary leadership. Leaders serve as catalysts, conductors, facilitators, mentors and coaches. They impact directly on the organization or the individual’s ability to compete and grow.

Leadership is:
Attitude  –   creating a positive, success-oriented, vision & purpose-centered environment.

Interpersonal Skills –  learning, teaching  and understanding of the dynamics of teams effectively.

Assessing  – quickly and clearly identifying  factors critical to the success and sustainability of the organization.

Goal Setting – leaders provide organizational direction and facilitate accomplishing
necessary objectives.

Results Oriented – monitoring and measuring results, following through,  following up, and ultimately making  changes and adjustments as needed.

As you can see, there is very little time for a “glib tongue” and “flattery”. Leaders invest their time  creating and maintaining cultures that effectively develop and support human while expanding business potential and growth.  Lifting people higher while maintaining focus on the vision and the results needed to make an extraordinary organization.

That’s leadership!

Focus on Your Strengths

Laura Novakowski  -  May 22, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Dr. Donald O. Clifton, a graduate student in the mid 1950’s, started to look at the “hyper focus on deficits and disease” and wondered “What would happen if we actually studied what is right with people?” This question stimulated some profound research with Gallup that resulted in the late 1990’s created an assessment called Clifton’s Strengths Finder. This instrument has been used by millions of people to discover and develop their talents.

Clifton’s studies showed that “people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are SIX times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than THREE times as likely to report having and excellent quality of life in general.” (Source: StrengthsFinder 2.0) This research is profoundly impacting levels of engagement personally and professionally around the globe.

Consider this Strength Finders formula for success:

 

The Power of Potential

Laura Novakowski  -  Apr 25, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Potential is about power and growth, two very scary, yet exciting concepts.  Dr Abraham Maslow’s was  a pioneer in the field of human behavior. He introduced what he called “B-values” to help define what he believed led to success.  Maslow focused his work on the study of great people who capitalized on their strengths instead of trying to analyze  weaknesses and limitations.  Rather than focus on the negative, Maslow did some extraordinary studies. He studied people such as Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and others to  identify what lead to their success.

His work focused on growth motivation as another term for self actualization needs and called them “being needs” (B-Needs).  In contrast, most research in the past had been focused on deficit motivation or “deficit needs” (D-Needs). Maslow suggested that only two percent of the people in the world achieve self actualization.

Dr. Maslow concentrated his research on people who met certain criteria using  biographical analysis. A few of the individuals he researched who met this standard of self actualization included: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams and William James.   These individuals were great because they chose to tap into greater potential. They, like each of us, had to overcame fear, mistakes, adversity and challenges, but, they decided to use their strengths and talents to get closer to being fully actualized.

Abraham Maslow’s B Values

  • Wholeness/Unity/Oneness
  • Perfection/Just-so-ness
  • Completion/Finality/Ending
  • Justice/Fairness
  • Aliveness/Full-Functioning
  • Richness/Intricacy
  • Simplicity/Essential/Honesty
  • Beauty/Form/Richness
  • Goodness/Oughtness
  • Uniqueness/Idiosyncrasy/Novelty
  • Effortlessness/Ease/Perfect
  • Playfulness/Joy/Humor
  • Truth/Reality/Beauty/Pure
  • Self-Sufficiency/Independence

Today, consider capitalizing on  strengths, instead of focusing on deficiencies.  Maslow’s “B values” are available to each of us. Let’s make increasing the two percent of the self actualized population our number one priority and expand our potential.

Some Positive Tips from Top Coaches

Laura Novakowski  -  Apr 21, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

“Courage is the discovery that you many not win,  and trying when you know you can lose.”  ~ Tom Krause

“The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a person’s determination.” ~ Tommy Lasorda

“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” ~ Vince Lombardi

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~John Wooden

“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” Pat Riley

“Some people think they are concentrating when they’re merely worrying.” ~ Bobby Jones

 

 

Focus on What You Can Control

Laura Novakowski  -  Apr 11, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Over the years, I have asked people what they believe have affected their ability to attain personal and/or professional success.  The answers range from “Day Light savings time”, “My boss doesn’t like me,” or “I wasn’t born rich,” to “I didn’t ask the right questions,” “I didn’t listen,” I failed to ask for what I really wanted.” 

When I asked myself, I started to realize that my answers would have been similar causing me to lose focus and to scatter all my time, talent and energy all over the map. Fortunately, I have some great colleague and mentors that connected me with a great concept that I would like to share with you.  The concept is called the Sphere of Control/Sphere of Influence and has proven to be invaluable to me to focus and achieve amazing results.

This idea was adapted from a very dear colleague George Richardson, President of the Profectus Service Organization. He and others that have mentored me over the years helped me to adopt and adapt this concept quickly and easily and really focus.

Starting inside, your Sphere of Control causes you to focus on, concentrate on and spend your energy on what you can control, what you can do something about.”  In this sphere, you identify your own purpose and dreams. Not someone else’s.  Next you make decisions, set goals, take action and focus on your own performance and behaviors to get you closer to being on purpose and achieving your dreams. When I decided to intentionally focus on what I could and would control my entire life shifted.  Relationships improved, projects came together, business started flowing and I really love my life and my profession.

Next, in your Sphere of Influence, you now have more opportunities to be an example of extraordinary leadership. A simple, one word definition of leadership is influence. In the influence realm, you serve as an example, showing attributes such as support, cooperation, collaboration and persuasion.  Because you have focused on what is within your own control, your own attitude and behaviors, the rest takes care of itself. I cannot make it stop raining, nor can I make someone like me. When my focus immediately shifts back to I can control my response to the weather and to some else’s response and reaction to me, life gets a whole lot easier.

The last arena in this concept is the Outside of Your Sphere of Control or Influence. The only focus or attention you give this area is to DROP IT!  You can’t control or influence it anyway so why waste your energy?

A very simple approach – Focus on What You Can Control!

To Succeed in Business – Raise Your Awareness

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 07, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

One of the biggest attractors or detractors for success in business and  is our level of awareness.  To offer some insight into how to create a backdrop for increasing our awareness, I would like to share some insights from one of the most renowned humanistic psychologists of all times, Dr. Abraham Maslow.  As a humanist psychologist , he believed that a person who heightens their awareness  become “fully functioning,” “healthy,” and  “self-actualizing.” These three attributes are essential to success in life and business.

Here are  10 points that Dr. Maslow believed optimized these attributes:

  1. Be authentic. Be genuine and transparent  in communication and behaviors in a way that people fully understand.  Saying one thing and doing another, leads to confusion and chaos.
  2. Transcend cultural conditioning. Become world citizens.  Move outside of your comfort zone. Appreciate and learn from all cultures, rather than being trapped by one.
  3. Discover your calling, fate or destiny. Assess your talents, your passions and your interests. Take assessments that increase your understanding of your behaviors (DISC), , motivators (Values Index) and patterns of thinking (Attribute Index). Diagnostics can and will help to discover what is important and appropriate to pursue in life and business.
  4. Know that life is precious, that there is joy to be experienced in life.   People want and need to be happy and full of hope.  Even in tough situations, finding the pleasure and promise of growth and contribution often makes the job much more pleasurable and rewarding.
  5. Accept others as they are and help them to learn their inner nature. From real knowledge of aptitudes and limitations you can know what to build upon; what potentials are really available for you. The same with people. Not all partners,  employees, clients work out.  Accept them where they are. Offer guidance if asked or required. Provide assistance to exit a situation that doesn’t fit style, capabilities or interests.
  6. See that basic needs are satisfied. This includes safety, sense of belonging and esteem needs. When we are aware that we have basic needs, we can appreciate that one hundred percent of the population has the same basic needs. When these needs are met obstacles become opportunities and conflict becomes collaboration.
  7. Refresh consciousness.   Appreciate that every situation has some good, some bad and even some ugly going on.  Reviewing conversations and critiquing business processes helps raise awareness of important issues, challenges and opportunities.
  8. Controls are good. It takes control to improve the quality and balance of and in business and life. Setting benchmarks and matrix help to give focus and direction.
  9. Transcend the trifling problems and grapple with the serious problems in life. These include the problems of injustice, pain, suffering, and death. I once knew a nurse turned interior designer who often said to her clients,Let’s keep this decision in perspective.  Hanging curtains in not life or death. Deciding when to pull the plug,  now, that’s life or death.
  10. Be good choosers. You must practice to learn to make more powerful and positive choices. The key word here is practice. Test your choices. Run your decisions by valued and trusted mentors, colleagues or friends .  Generate congratulations and rewards for success. Evaluate the losses, make changes and move on.

Ten great ways to raise your awareness  from Dr. Maslow to help lead your business and life to success.

Source:  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs from Psychology – The Search for Understanding by Janet A. Simons, Donald B. Irwin and Beverly A. Drinnien

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