Prepare and Practice

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

Earlier this year I conducted a management development program for a client. Last week, we had a follow up video call to answer questions, reinforce the content, and celebrate successes.

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The Obstacle Course

Leaders are well versed in navigating their way through obstacles. Usually these are fairly easy to accomplish, but every once in a while, you face a doozy.

Many people panic, especially if they are on a deadline. Most of their thoughts are around “how did this happen” or “what did we (I) do wrong?” or “I’m never going to make it on time.”

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“I’ll Get Back to You…”

Famous last words. How many times has someone said that they would get back to you, complete a task, follow up on a lead, or get some information to you. . . and you feel like you’re getting old as you wait to hear back?

Now, in fairness, no one is perfect and certainly there have been times when you’ve not followed up on things, so before you start ranting about everyone else, you might want to look in the mirror.

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The Ripple Effect of Change

A couple of my clients have shared concerns about dealing with key vendors due to major changes occurring in the vendors’ companies. One vendor is going through a substantial reorganization, and another has experienced the firing of its most senior officers without any apparent succession plan in place. Both vendors are swimming in chaos.

My clients are continuing to do business as they always have, but their situations have been fraught with challenges. Even though they have no control over either situation, they are receiving the residual runoff of their vendors’ discontent and fears.

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The Dangers of Settling

Do you settle for less? It doesn’t matter what you settle for or when you do it, it can begin a pattern where your expectations and standards slip, and you’re not even aware that it’s happening.

This is an observable pattern. If your employees see you settling, the behavior can be contagious. I know managers who say, “just this time” and before they know it, they’re doing it all the time.

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Keep in Touch – It Matters

I had coffee with a former colleague a few weeks ago. We worked together years ago and have stayed in touch occasionally.

I was startled when I saw him, because he had aged beyond his years and appeared gaunt and frail. I don’t know what’s wrong, but he’s not well. I was glad that we got together, and we have tentatively set another time to connect several months from now.

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“I Heard You Twice the First Time”

Don’t you just love that expression? I learned it from Joanne, who participated in a management offsite that I facilitated. We had been discussing the need to “over communicate,” especially given enormous information overload. Her comment made a great impression on everyone around the table.

People become frustrated when their colleagues or co-workers don’t recall what they said. The fact is, people cram in so much information that some things just don’t get processed.

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Listen and Ask

I’m a student of the art of asking questions. My experience is that the quality of the questions you ask can make an amazing difference in your professional (and personal) discussions.

Leaders who ask great questions have more interactive dialogue with their team members and hopefully create an environment where questioning and curiosity becomes the norm, not the exception.

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