Don’t Just Endure It, Embrace It

We moved three hours north to Iowa (from Missouri). While three hours doesn’t seem like far, it’s quite a dramatic change in terms of weather! But the biggest difference isn’t the weather itself, which everyone warned us about, but rather how people react to it.

In Missouri, at least where I was, the cold snowy days were more of an interference with life – something to endure until it passed so we could get back to life as we wanted it. But here in Iowa, with a lot more snow and much colder temperatures (as in a rather shocking -18 degrees one morning), people seem to not only accept it, but also embrace it. As the locals say, “This is Iowa, you know.”

It is not uncommon to see people partake in activities like cycling or jogging when it is 20 degrees. And for many, they embrace and enjoy the cold with ice fishing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, and even crazy activities like ham put – like shot put but with a frozen ham! I’ve personally gotten more into birding and scenic photography, including eagle watching and seeking out owls in the beauty of the snow that sometimes sparkles like diamonds.

What struck me about this approach to winter is how it aligns with the way many people approach their work or life. Yes, I acknowledge and have experienced some seasons in life that we just need to endure and get through until they pass. But during some of those hard times, a shift in perspective can help us embrace the good we find in it, even if it’s just learning more about ourselves and our own strength as we emerge from a struggle. Read the Full Article

Overcoming Weakness by Focusing on What Comes Naturally

One of many things clients love about using Gallup strengths is its positive focus on the value we do bring and enhancing what is good with us. We don’t ignore the weaknesses, which often are our lowest (sometimes called inferior) talent themes, but instead use our strengths to overcome them. Developing strategies for doing so is vital to a leader’s success.
In this blog, I want to share a recent example of where I helped a leader aim her strengths at a weakness. Seeing how others have navigated a situation can bring aha moments. I hope this gives you some insights as to how you might strategically overcome your constraints through your top 10 talent themes. Read the Full Article

Projecting More Energy During Video Calls

Video calls can be draining. The experts even coined the phrase “Zoom fatigue” to describe it, and there are plenty of people who’ve bought into the idea that video calls are an awful experience. But that doesn’t have to be the case at all!

We know that energy levels matter. When a leader projects positive energy or negative energy, other team members pick up on it, and it can be either motivating or demotivating for your team. The significant increase in the number of video calls (whether you’re using Zoom, WebEx, or some other video conferencing software) has forced leaders to step up and lead with even more energy.

Read the Full Article

Using Video Calls to Develop Lasting Emotional Intelligence

Most of us have seen a dramatic increase in the number of video calls occurring in our daily lives recently. Whether you’re using Zoom, WebEx, GoTo Meeting, or some other video platform, you might have heard about “Zoom fatigue,” a term that experts have used to describe why video calls are so tiring.

With all the negative attention to Zoom fatigue, let’s focus on a positive aspect of video calls instead. As with most aspects of development, it’s a choice in how you see it. Read on if you want to reap some benefits from all those video calls (this is the first of a 2-part series). Read the Full Article

Leadership and Sacrifice in a Time of Crisis – Part 2

When a business faces a crisis, whether brought on by a global pandemic or budget cuts or loss of a major revenue source, leaders may be asked to sacrifice some of their personal time or energy to help see the business through the crisis. But what happens when leaders resist that effort? Does the company demand the effort and potentially lose that employee or create a disgruntled employee?

The better approach is to get buy-in from your leaders through some open, honest discussion of what leadership in a crisis looks like. If you haven’t read the part one of this topic, read it first and then come back to this post, which discusses the second of two meetings.

Your first meeting asked some critical open-ended questions to share ideas and hear how people view the role and responsibilities of leaders in a crisis. The second meeting focuses on agreeing to expectations about how leaders of your organization should behave in a crisis. Read the Full Article

Leadership and Sacrifice in a Time of Crisis – Part 1

These are hard times for many, and sacrifice is taking many forms. There are healthcare providers and first responders who are potentially sacrificing their lives on the frontlines. There are some essential workers sacrificing time with their families to protect them from the risks they face every day and others sacrificing their income to do so.

There are also lessons to be learned about leadership and sacrifice in business during crisis. While most business environments don’t involve possibly sacrificing your life, it can mean sacrificing your time and your energy—two assets that may already feel scarce in a time of crisis.

This issue surfaced recently in a conversation I had with a leader who feels she isn’t seeing the commitment she expects from other leaders. If that sounds like a situation you’ve faced, let’s examine a strategy that leaders can use to help people want to commit to the cause rather than simply demanding that they commit to it. Read the Full Article

Priorities, Permission and Promises

The last three months I have taken an unexpected hiatus from writing and have learned some key lessons around priorities, permission and promises. I anticipated reducing my workload in December to care for my husband as he recovered from hip surgery. I did not anticipate that the surgery everyone proclaimed as “no big deal” was really quite serious. The initial idea of scaling back for a couple weeks morphed into basically putting the business on hold for nearly six weeks.

Here’s what I learned in that process. Read the Full Article

Time Management: The Snowball Principle, Compound Interest, and More

Ever heard the phrase, “Time is money?” Well, it is. And when it comes to time management, we can draw a lot of lessons from Dave Ramsey’s lessons on money management and getting out of debt. In a previous blog, we looked at managing time by first identifying priorities. Now we’re going to look at a few other principles that Dave Ramsey teaches and how they can apply to time.

Use the Snowball Principle

In a debt snowball approach, you identify your smallest debt and work hard to pay that off and build momentum toward your goal. But how often do we do that with our time? Sometimes when I look at a big project that seems daunting or a small one that seems boring, I simply keep pushing it off to another day. But the principle of building momentum can apply here too — chipping away at the mountain slowly gets the work accomplished. Read the Full Article

Managing Your Time By First Identifying Your Priorities

This is the first of a two-part series.

We have some friends practicing their “debt-free scream” for an upcoming appearance on the Dave Ramsey show on December 13. It’s an exciting thing for them! Hearing them talk about practicing that scream got me thinking… when is the last time that I heard somebody do the “exhaustion-free scream,” myself included? Am I being as intentional with my time as they were with their financial choices?

The Dave Ramsey principles for getting out of debt can also apply to time. And there’s one key thing that makes time different than money: We all get the same amount each day. If we start thinking about time through this lens, it can help us be more intentional and ensure we are using our time wisely. Read the Full Article

When They Love Us, They Change Us

“Denver told me that faith-based organizations, government programs, and well-meaning individuals fed him and kept him alive for all those years on the streets, but it was the love of Miss Debbie that caused him to want to change his life.” – from the book, Same Kind of Different As Me.

I recently read this book about two unlikely people whose lives intersect—a homeless man and a wealthy art collector. The book, co-authored by these two men, is a powerful and inspiring story that offers some leadership lessons as well. The homeless man, Denver, acknowledged that a lot of organizations and people kept him alive, but it was the love that one person showed him that sparked his desire to change his life.

How does this apply to business? When you treat someone as a person and recognize their value beyond what they do for your business, it’s powerful. It’s not about group hugs or throwing out high performance standards in favor of a softer approach to business objectives. It’s about treating people with kindness and actively showing that you care about them and want to invest in them. It’s recognizing them as a fellow human being with value. Read the Full Article