Ready For A Performance Evaluation Revolution?

 

[Cue music from Les Mis… “Do you hear the people sing? Singing the songs…” 😉]

Performance evaluation strikes a chord of doom and dread in everyone’s heart.

It’s a common business practice with the best of intentions…

  • to bring out the best in people
  • to strive for optimal organizational results

But it has the unintended impact of creating tension, stress and disengagement for everyone involved.

It’s Engagement, People

In the realm of leadership development, research shows that engagement is the best performance enhancer. And people are more engaged when using and building on their strengths rather than working hard to improve their shortcomings.

So when the goal is building engagement in a team (pro tip – this is always the goal!), focusing on strengths is key.

I help leaders identify the strengths in themselves and in their team, as individuals and as a group.

With a clear awareness, successful leaders focus on maximizing the strengths of the individual and the team and proactively managing trouble spots.

Favorite Tools

I have two favorite tools at hand to work this magic:

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a great assessment for identifying the strengths of individuals, whether working solo or on teams.

TIPS is a powerful assessment for evaluating the best use of talent in an organization. This unique tool identifies individuals’ preferred styles of thinking, working, living, interacting and innovating. With that information, leaders orchestrate a dynamic in which everyone’s strengths and talents are actively engaged in the right place and function for business success.

Celebrate Strengths

In a perfect world, corporations would redefine the performance evaluation, shifting it away from a stressful dissection of people’s shortcomings to an exploration and a celebration of each person’s strongest talents.

When employees know that leaders really see them and support them in their strengths, they can’t help but soar.

Mary

A Sparkling Theme for 2019

I am not a fan of resolutions.

They’re well-intended, but they don’t seem to last. We need something to anchor and guide us, to help us be our best.

Having a theme for the year is what works for me. It’s more inspirational.

The thing about resolutions is they set external targets. They are prescriptive, telling you what to do. While there is a certain power to their concrete and tangible character, they seldom stick because they lack inspiration.

Themes don’t expire, they inspire. They tap into our creativity and curiosity, rather than our willpower. They engage us instead of dictating to us. That’s why a theme lasts longer.

Review Your Year for the Pivotal Moments

Yahoo. Boohoo. Aha.

That’s the simple lens I use to review my past year, reflecting on events, accomplishments and moments.

Try it… Write down your “yahoo” moments of 2018. What are you proud of? What brought you joy? Maybe you’ll think of positive steps taking care of your health; quality time with cherished friends; redesigning your website or reorganizing the basement.

Now your “boohoos.” What tough things happened? Jot down whatever triggered your disappointments or sense of loss or shortcoming in the last year.

What sparked an “aha”? What did you learn? What truth were you reminded of?

Review your list. Say thank you to 2018 for the yahoos, the boohoos, the ahas. Feel your gratitude for all you learned.

Now crumple it, toss it out, and say goodbye to 2018.

A Theme to Inspire Your New Year

To figure out your theme, take a fresh piece of paper and write on top: “What Is Next.”

Jot down what comes to your mind and heart.

Ask yourself….

  • What do I want my life/career/work to feel like in 2019?
  • What do I want more of? Less of?
  • What fires me up, makes me feel more alive?
  • What scares me?
  • What are the challenges in 2019?
  • What do I want to focus on for the next year?

Noodle on these questions…. Instead of trying to figure out the answers, linger with the questions.

While you linger, drop your attention to your heart. Drop your attention to your breath. Don’t force it, see what comes.

As words, images or ideas surface, a theme might reveal itself. Sometimes it pops right out, other times it emerges as you noodle. Pay attention to what makes you sparkle, what inspires you.

Once you’ve got a theme in sight, take it out for a test drive. Live with it for a week or two. Does it resonate? Does it spark more questions? Revise and reiterate until it resonates, and let it guide and inspire you as the year unfolds.

Mary

The Chatter of Your Inner Champion

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” Marcus Aurelius

Yes, you have a brilliant internal resource I call your Inner Champion. With practice, you can connect with your Inner Champion and magnify your internal resourcefulness!

Let’s Connect with Your Inner Champion

Put your hand on your heart, get quiet, get grounded. Imagine that your heart is breathing in love and exhaling gratitude.

As you linger in that love and gratitude, listen for that part of you that always believes in you, supports you, encourages you, knows your heart.

It may show up as a slight smile on your face, a subtle nod, a warm feeling, or a kind voice. Allow this experience to become your primary focus. This is your Inner Champion.

Tune in to the energy, experience or voice of your Champion. Tune your internal radio station to this channel—it’s dedicated to believing in your magnificence and capability.
This voice ROOTS for you …
This essence CHEERS for you …
It BELIEVES in you …
It STRENGTHENS you …

Your Inner Champion might sound like a giddy ecstatic teenager or like a calm Yoda.

Practice Inviting Your Inner Champion to Speak Out

Once you’ve tuned in to this voice, you can connect anytime! Really attend, listen and notice—through the noise and distraction of everyday life—to the Voice of the one who cheers for you. Go ahead and practice tuning in as often as you can.

Put your hand on your heart and trust whatever comes—however it comes. Simply notice the wisdom. This part of you is always on your side and always knows your heart. Listen to her advice, and thank her for her constant presence, support and wisdom.

It may be awkward at first, but keep practicing. Just like working certain muscles makes them stronger, you can exercise your ability to notice the energy/presence of your Inner Champion, and you WILL get better at it. When you have clear and easy access to your Inner Champion, it’s a powerful counter balance to the negative self-talk so many of us have humming in the background.

Most importantly, when you face a challenge, you will have a solid connection you trust—that voice of wisdom will to speak to you.

Trust Your Inner Wisdom

Get acquainted with your Inner Champion, welcome her into your heart and spirit. Trust that your Inner Champion is always with you and guiding you, and her wisdom is inside whenever you need it.

Mary

Too Much to Do: Four Strategies for Guaranteed Productivity

In my recent teleclass, Kelly expressed her goal succinctly: “I want to spin less and get more done.” Can you relate?

Journalist Charles Duhigg is an expert on productivity. In his latest book, Smarter Better Faster, he concludes that the most productive people have trained themselves to be productive, and most importantly, experimenting is part of the process. By trial and error, we build habits and contemplative routines that yield increased productivity.

The same tools don’t work for everyone, so don’t be frustrated if you’ve tried and failed some techniques: The winning technique for you is still out there — waiting for you to give it a try.

Here are four ideas to inspire your experiments:

1. Set a Stretch Goal

Take a few minutes to reflect on what is most important to you and WHY it’s important. The key to being productive is motivation. Understanding your “why” will help you stay focused and overcome obstacles.

For example, while having a clean house may be the goal, it’s not the motivation. The motivation might be “I am happier when I can find things easily,” or “my allergies do better when it’s not dusty,” or “I love having guests, and I don’t do that when it’s messy.” Once your motivational goal is clear, then make your TO-DO list, outlining the tasks that will get you there.

2. Keep a Not-Doing-Now List

Your Not-Doing-Now list is a parking lot. When your mind strays or another task tempts you, put it on your list and return focus to the task you’re committed to. Don’t multitask: ask “is this intrusion helping with my current task or not?” If the answer is “no,” park it.

3. Do the Hardest Thing First

It’s typical to tackle the simplest item on list. We get to check something off quickly and enjoy a feeling of moving forward. It makes us feel productive – but it only keeps us spinning. However, when you nail the hardest thing first, it frees you up.

My clients who’ve tested this one consistently say they feel so much better not having that big task hanging over their head all day long. It gives a sense of freedom, creating more energy and space to get more things done, and the rest of the day goes a lot smoother and easier.

4. Make a Daily Top-Three Commitment List

Review your master to-do list and pick three things that you are absolutely, 100% committed to completing today. Don’t take on another until all three are completed. This strategy helps me say “no” (at least not now.) When something else tries to sneak on to my schedule, I know what my priorities are.

Experiment TODAY!

Duhigg says one thing productive people have in common is a willingness to experiment.

I challenge you to choose one of these strategies, and commit to it for a day, or seven, or 30. Keep experimenting and be willing to train yourself into new habits.

What’s your first experiment?

Mary

WHAT’S NEW ON LINKEDIN: TIPS FROM JUDY ZIMMER

LinkedIn is THE place to make connections with colleagues, clients, prospects and more. It’s the biggest networking platform out there: it had 500 million users as of January 1, and 40% of them use LinkedIn daily. Isn’t that incredible?

Like any platform, it’s always changing, so I asked my colleague Judy Zimmer to share a few tips about recent changes with you. She’s a super-star LinkedIn expert, and you can learn more about her here: www.coachology.us.

Green Dot Indicates Active Status

The first new change Judy points out is the green dot in the messaging window, which indicates a member’s active status. It appears in two ways: a simple green dot means the person is on LinkedIn right now, and a green dot with a small white dot in the center means the person will receive a notification on their mobile phone when they receive a message. This allows LinkedIn messaging to function like an instant messenger. If you can catch them while they’re active, there’s a better chance of piquing their interest and getting a response. EXTRA TIP: Remember to personalize your message to increase the odds that they’ll accept you as a connection or reply to your message. Ask yourself: What were you excited about when you met them? That’s a great way to get personal.

Private Dashboard

Another significant new change is your personal, private dashboard in your profile. You’ll see some useful statistics: a set of three numbers telling you how many people have viewed your profile and your posts, and how many times you appeared in searches. Click on this bar to learn more about your searchers: where they work, what they do, and what keywords they used to find you.

EXTRA TIP: If the keywords you value aren’t in the list, make sure they occur repeatedly in your profile. In fact, your preferred term should be in your profile no less than five times: in headline, summary, experience, skills/endorsements and recommendations. Why is it so important? “Because the more clarity you have around keywords, the easier it is for people to come looking for you and the more people you can help,” says Judy.

Take Control of Skills and Endorsements

Lastly, scroll down below your Experience section to find Skills and Endorsements. This has been revised to make it easier for you to control which skills are featured at the top of your list. Click on the pencil to edit the list: by clicking on the thumbtack icons, you can select which three top skills you want to emphasize. By clicking on the four parallel horizontal lines, you can drag the skills to rearrange them. When people endorse you, they refer to this list, so make it easy for them to craft a useful endorsement for you.

It pays to be active on LinkedIn, and to get acquainted with the ins and outs. “There’s so much you can leverage, so many tools,” says Judy.

If you’d like some help with LinkedIn, reach out to me or to Judy, and polish up that profile!

WHAT WILL YOU UPDATE FIRST?

Mary

ACCOUNTABILITY: EMPOWERING CHANGE

ACCOUNTABILITY: It isn’t sexy – but it works

It’s a pretty simple concept that will make or break your success, but it’s got a bad rap. Just saying the word out loud – ACCOUNTABILITY — I can feel my defensive hackles rising. And I know better!

According to the dictionary, it’s about accounting for one’s actions. In the business world, it’s used to define expected outcomes and performance goals according to a timeline.

Here’s what it’s not: nagging, judging, forcing. Guilt trips.

COACHING DEFINITION: Am I Doing What I Said I Want To Do?

Accountability is a critical, fundamental tool for empowering people to make real and lasting change. I use accountability every day in many different ways to keep clients motivated and moving towards what they want to accomplish. It’s so basic, it sometimes seems invisible!

The art of accountability in coaching pivots on reflecting an individual’s goals, learning styles and motivation points. An accountability program which fits the person is a powerful tool for success.

Why It Works

Accountability in coaching works because:

  • It creates an external stimulus for transitioning from idea to reality
  • It’s a measuring tool for action and progress
  • It incorporates learning

Ultimately, it’s a structure which empowers people to make meaningful and lasting change.

Three Key Ingredients for Effective Accountability

When you commit to practicing accountability, there are three vital elements: Identifying a metric, tracking, and reporting.

METRIC: What will you measure/observe?

Identify what specific action you can track that will help you achieve your goal. Is your goal to write a book? Writing for 10 minutes a day would be a good metric. Trying to get more exercise? A daily walk may be your metric. Want more clients? Your metric might be reaching out to 10 prospects each week. Don’t make your metric “getting five more clients each week,” because that’s not within your control.

For the best chance at success, start small. Remember last month’s blog? Starting small helps guarantee success because you bypass the part of your brain that goes into overwhelm with big changes.

TRACKING: How will you keep track of what you are measuring?

  • Write it on calendar
  • Create a tracking sheet
  • Daily email/hourly text with your accountability partner
  • Record in journal
  • Maintain an end-of-the-day accomplishment list

Pro tip: try to make it a game. You are more likely to follow through if you make it fun!

REPORTING: Who will you tell?

Pairing up with an accountability partner is the critical ingredient for effective accountability, as well as effective coaching. But you’ve got to have the right person for the job. What qualities make a great Personal Accountability Partner?

  • A relationship of mutual respect and trust
  • Both parties willing and able to give honest, direct feedback
  • No judgment
  • Mutual encouragement without attachment to the outcome

What do you report?

  • Actions taken AND not taken
  • What am I learning?
  • How do I want to apply that learning going forward?

Accountability to Reach Goals and Fulfill Potential

By providing an external structure for measuring action and evaluating your learning process, accountability is a powerful way to discern whether the actions you take are creating the new improved reality you seek.

WHO ARE YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS?

Mary

Small Is the New Big: Take Small Steps to Achieve Big Change

Recently, I rediscovered a book that has been on my shelf for years, called One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer. I love it so much that I want to share it with you.

Dr. Maurer’s big, audacious, surprising notion is that we don’t need to take (and in fact aren’t served by taking) big, audacious, surprising steps. Instead, harness the power of small steps. It’s called the Kaizen Way, after a Japanese principle of manufacturing improvement.

Big Changes Tend to Backfire

The idea here is that those crazy big steps, promises and pivots encouraged by our “CAN DO” culture, are actually more likely to spark fear, overwhelm and cause frustration. When we make big promises, our subconscious puts up big resistance, and while we might start off with a bang, we’ll ultimately lose momentum and feel discouraged. By taking small steps, we avoid setting up that dynamic of internal resistance, finding a natural, graceful way to move securely toward our goals.

Playful, Creative Change Instead of Forcing It

Change – big or small – is scary. By practicing the strategies of the Kaizen Way, we work around our brain’s natural fear response. These strategies lay down new neural pathways that unleash our brain’s natural capacity for creatively and playfully creating change, instead of forcing it.

Instead of making big promises, figure out small steps. Here are three of the six small steps outlined by Robert Maurer!

Three Strategies of the Kaizen Way

Number 1: Ask Small Questions, Repeatedly

Our brains LOVE to play and questions help open the door to our natural creativity. Small, gentle, open-ended, positive questions allow us to tip-toe past the fear and playfully explore! Big questions may trigger our automatic fear response.

Here’s how it works: Instead of asking yourself “how can I lose 30 pounds?” try asking “how can I be physically active today?” Instead of wondering “how can I find my soul mate?” wonder “what would an ideal mate be like?”

Part of this strategy is repetition: ask yourself repeatedly over days or weeks. Post your questions in places where you see them regularly. Mull it over, don’t force it…But do noodle on all the possible answers to your questions. Try writing the answers down.

Number 2: Think Small Thoughts

Dr. Maurer explores the technique of mind sculpture developed by Ian Robertson. With this strategy, you use your imagination/mind to develop new skills. Mind sculpture is more than guided imagery, visualization, or just thinking. It is a total imaginary immersion, engaging all the senses. When you practice mind sculpture, you use your mind to fully immerse yourself in the activity. Your brain believes that you are actually engaged in the activity. This way of practicing engages your mind and neutralizes fear at the same time.

Number 3: Take Small Actions

This is the heart of the Kaizen Way. No matter how much you entertain your brain with puzzles or questions or mental rehearsals, at some point you have to take action in order for change to unfold. These actions need to be so small and seemingly insignificant that they trick that brainy brain of yours! They might even seem small, trivial–even laughable. But they will comfortably, naturally, organically lead you to a second step, then a third, and so on until you have accomplished your goal!

Examples include marching in place for one minute (instead of pledging 45 minutes in the gym), going through one quick conversation in your French textbook (instead of vowing to do a whole chapter), or cutting down your portion size by one bite at each meal (instead of cutting out a meal).

Gentle, Playful, Compassionate Change

The Kaizen Way is a life-long practice that kindly and respectfully encourages you to move towards your goals. Don’t force these small steps: They only work if you allow them to work in a comfortable and easy manner.

All change takes time. Building these new habits requires compassion, trust, optimism and patience. Be kind to yourself, and open to the possibility that small can be huge.

Mary

WHAT’S YOUR THEME FOR 2018?

Now that we’re a few weeks in to 2018, how’s your mojo?

The new year brings the excitement and magic of new beginnings. I love the fresh start, blank page, anything is possible feeling. It energizes me wondering What will this year bring?

You know what doesn’t inspire my mojo? Resolutions.

Invigorate Your New Year with a Theme

Instead of the dread of resolutions, I get my inspiration from a theme.

What themes have kept me revved up and committed to my best, most satisfying life?
Here are a few from the last few years:

“The answer is always there.”
“Yes! Bring on the best!”
“Now is the time for Wild Ass success.”
“Let’s Dance”

They’re dynamic, playful, full of energy: they reflect me. More importantly, my themes inspire me in all areas of my life, grounding me and keeping me focused throughout the year.

Craft Your Theme for 2018

Would you like to try creating a personal theme for your fresh new year?

Grab two pieces of paper and let’s get started. We’ll start with a look back at last year.

Yahoo / Boo-Hoo / Ah Ha!

This is a great year-end exercise. Think back over 2017 and write down…

Yahoos: What were your best moments? What did you accomplish or achieve? What are you proud of? What
delighted you?

Boo-Hoos: What were the tough spots? What didn’t you get to? What were failures or disappointments? Where were
the sad moments? What do you regret?

Ah Has: What did you learn?

Pause. Review. Say Thank You for the experiences of 2017. Really feel that sense of gratitude – from your heart.

NOW…say Farewell: fold up your paper and set it to the side. Better yet, tear it up and throw it away! ADIOS!

2018–What Is Next?
Take sheet number two, and write at the top: 2018–What is next? Reflect on these questions:

  • What do I want my life and career to feel like this year?
  • What do I want more of in my life?
  • What do I want less of? What can I let go of?
  • What fires me up? What will make me feel more alive?
  • What are the challenges?
  • Where can I be more courageous?
  • Where do I want focus?

An Exercise of the Heart, Not the Mind

Let the answers come – this is not something to figure out in your head. In fact – put your hand on your heart, and ask What Is Next? Jot down what comes to you.

Notice any consistent threads? Sometimes a theme pops right out. Other times it takes a while for the words, images, or ideas to emerge.

There is no right way to do this. Allow yourself time to percolate on the questions and answers. It takes time and attention to craft a theme that sparkles and excites you. When you arrive at your right theme, you’ll know–you’ll feel your creative juices surge.

That’s how I felt when I came up with my simple theme for 2018: “Let’s have fun!!” I invite you to find your own perfect theme for the new year, and let it feed your mojo!

Mary

Change is in the Air

Cold fall or winter evening. People resting by the fire with blaTransitions are tough and exhilarating at the same time.

Just take a look at our Midwestern weather this time of year: you can leave the house in the morning shivering in your sweater and by lunch time, you are sweltering, ready to shed those socks and shoes for sandals! You just never know what the day will offer.

That particular lesson from Mother Nature — helps me become aware of how my mindset creates struggle or ease in the midst of transition. When I hold tightly to my expectations and things don’t turn out the way I planned, I get pretty cantankerous. It is really hard to delight in a surprise October snow shower when I had my heart set on shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt.

So when I start to feel that cranky, agitated feeling, I can step back and notice how I am contributing to the stress of this moment. I can choose to ruminate on my disappointment (I really wanted it to still be summer!) OR acknowledge my disappointment and focus my attention on something within my power (oh goody, I get to wear my cozy fleece jacket and wool socks!)

What is your attitude when change is in the air? Try this if you are feeling cranky:

  1. Stop whatever you are doing
  2. Soften or even close your eyes
  3. Take 3 nice, easy breaths — giving your breath your full attention
  4. Open your eyes and go back to whatever you were doing
  5. REPEAT AS NEEDED until crankiness subsides

Ready with socks and sandals!
Mary

Turn the page

It is October 1st and we turned the page of our old fashioned wall calendar this morning.

October 2015

October 2015

It was exciting to take a peek at all the adventures this month has to offer. To top it off, we even have real Fall weather today – a cool morning and a bright, sunny blue sky day! Just a few minutes outside reinvigorates and grounds you. Boy, do I love those basics.

Today is even more exciting because it is DAY 1 of my 30 day commitment to clearing out the clutter in my life. Every day for the next 30 days I will GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY something. At the end of each week, I will donate the items to our local thrift store. Here is what went into the GIVE AWAY pile today…

Going to Goodwill!

Going to Goodwill!

Would you like to join me? I know I do better with an accountability partner! That reminds me, I will be talking about all kinds of tips for making accountability more engaging in my FREE TELECLASS this month. Check it out!

HAPPY AUTUMN!