STOP Doing It!


So much of what we do in business is about the things we need to get done.  I need to write a report.  I need to send e-mails to my clients.  I need to create a budget.  I need to put a plan together for the next quarterly meeting.  On and on it goes with stuff we need to do in order to make progress in our business.  Nothing is wrong with this, especially when it creates progress.  Progress has been determined to be the number one motivator of both business owners and employees.

However, we really ought to find the things that we need to STOP doing!  It is the one thing we, myself included, often neglect to do.  What is it in my business or my world that I need to stop doing?  Business guru Jim Collins and coach to the Fortune CEO Marshall Goldsmith emphasize this topic frequently.  They ask, “What is on your STOP doing list?”

stop pic2 resized 600

When we want to create value, we want to DO something.  At times, we can create value by stopping the things that are wasting our time, distracting us from important work, and keeping us from clients and other people vital to our business. 

There are various things I find myself doing that I should stop.  I should stop having my e-mail open all day long because I get distracted from what I am working on every time I receive a new e-mail.  I need to stop not writing the important things on my calendar because time management is event management.  I write my blog when I happen to get around to it rather than putting it on the calendar and letting the calendar manage my events.

I also need to stop looking at things once, leaving them, and then coming back to spend more time on them.  I will read an e-mail, leave it to do something else, and continue this process by moving on to something else again instead of taking care of it right then.  This is a major waste of time, and I need to STOP it.  When something comes up, I should get it done now, move it to the calendar to do at a later time, delegate it to someone else, or delete it and move on.

What do you need to STOP doing?


Leadership exposes issues…what are yours?

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing notable business coach Marshall Goldsmith speak at the Fortune Growth Summit.  Marshall’s work helps to make people better and is both educational and enlightening.  He has successfully coached several of the Fortune 500 leaders, and has done so by helping them in areas that required improvement.  As we’ve all heard time and time again, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Marshall has written two bestselling books, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Mojo: How To Get It, How To Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It.  What is interesting about this is that the key to success for people already in leadership roles is in their own, quirky personality flaws.  I find it comforting when reading his material and hearing him speak to learn that we all have those flaws.  The most successful people out there are filled with “issues” about how they are viewed by the people around them.  I know personally that I am dinged by both my partners and others around me for my own personality traits that they find annoying.  So what are we to do?

The first thing you need to do is identify the issue.  Marshall does this with a 360 degree survey.  He doesn’t just focus on the subject with the issue, but interviews all the people around that person (and is paid big bucks to take the time to do so!)  There are a variety of testing tools out there that do very similar things (check out the multipliers blog).  The second step is having the desire to change.  If that’s not there, you might as well stop here.  Marshall says that coaching someone who does not want to change is a waste of time.  Most of us want to get better, but there are still those who believe “being this way is what got me where I am”.  For those, it will usually take losing a job, or missing out on a prime opportunity to make them look back and finally question what went wrong, and what they could have done differently.

Marshall lists 20 main areas of interpersonal behavior that are annoyances to those around us.  A few of them are: winning too much, passing judgment, starting with “no”, “but” or “however”, speaking with anger, negativity, making excuses, not listening (my issue), and clinging to the past.

After the interviews take place and you have feedback, Marshall explains the 4 ways to address your issues, which include: apologizing, telling the world (what you’re going to change), listening and thanking.  He takes an entire chapter for each of these topics to explain them in greater detail.

We could all use some coaching, even Marshall.  His coach calls him every single day, no matter where he is, to ask him a dozen questions, such as:  how many pushups did you do today, have you said anything nice to your wife, how much time have you spent writing, and how much time did you spend on things that didn’t matter?  He discusses this in his interview with Verne Harnish.

Who is helping to make you better?

Team Building

Last week I talked about how nature and group activities inspire creative thinking.  I also talked about my EO Forum’s zip line experience and how it builds a connection between people to help them know and understand each other on a higher level.  A lot of people seem to think these kinds of team building exercises are a waste of time and don’t help, but I disagree.  Although they may not always provide you the level of results you are seeking, I do think they help move you in that direction.  Bestselling author and business coach Marshall Goldsmith recently sent me a paper on how to do team building more effectively, without wasting time.

describe the imageMarshall says that focused feedback and follow up are the keys to successful team building.  He has a 14 step process that alone is fairly simple to implement, but it’s the follow up that requires determination to make it successful.  I will share the first 7 steps below:

STEP ONE.  You ask two questions, the first being, “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best) how well are we doing in terms of working together as a team?”  The second question is “On the same scale, how well do we need to be doing in terms of working together as a team?”

STEP TWO.  Calculate your results to define the gap between where you are and where your team believes you should be.     

STEP THREE.  Now ask everyone on the team to write down 2 key behaviors, broad spectrum across the team, that they believe would help close the gap.  Record each person’s response on a flip chart. 

STEP FOUR. Eliminate the duplicates and prioritize the rest to determine the two most important behaviors that all team members will work to change.

STEP FIVE.  Next, the team will disperse into one-on-one groups, spending 5 minutes with each person on the team.  During the 5 minutes, they will each make a suggestion to the other of 2 personal behavioral changes that they think that person could make to help the team as a whole.

STEP SIX.  After everyone has met, each team member will pick two of their suggested areas for improvement and behavior change that seem the most important, and then they will share them with the rest of the team.

STEP SEVEN: Team members are encouraged to get 5 minute progress reports from all the other team members to show that they are making progress on their two behavior choices.  Suggestions may occur where behavior doesn’t match desired expectations.

The remaining steps are on the follow through and maintaining feedback that is useful to both the individual’s and the team’s progress.  You can find all of the steps in Coaching for Leadership:  How the World’s Greatest Coaches Help Leaders Learn.  It exhibits how this process will identify the gaps and give your group the needed direction in areas that need improvement.  With the monthly reviews, the feedback keeps the team focused on getting better, both individually and as a team.