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Did You Know A Single Thought Can Destroy A Career?

Yes. A single thought can make or break your career. I know it seems like some crazy headline intended to capture your attention, but as a strategic coach/consultant, I see the harm a single thought breeds.

It often appears many of your “lucky-dog” peers never face anything more than fair weather and smooth sailing throughout their career. You don’t begrudge them their success, and yet you wonder.

Especially as a study reveals, 65 percent say a better boss would make them happy.[1] Along the same line, global studies show that 79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation as their reason for leaving.’[2]

You have to dig a bit deeper. You’ll discover something. Those “lucky dogs” seemingly understand interviewing to find a better boss or leaving the company isn’t the answer because in all likelihood they’ll be facing the same situation again.

It isn’t about waving a magic wand rather their rewarding career journey emanates from the mind not exiting the scene of the crime.

Let’s examine several points of undermining versus optimizing responses.

  1. Spiraling Down vs. Spiraling Up: Do you find yourself spending more of your time in Spiraling Down conversations with those around you…? You know all the stuff that’s going wrong or the inept people you deal with daily. The minute you realize your conversation is unconstructive—even if only in your brain—turn the switch in your mind from Spiraling Down deeper into negativity to Spiraling Up into possibility. You know the difference-making style of thinking. The “what can we do,” “how can we recognize the other side,” “can we make things better?” Viewing the problem with an unworkable outlook leaves you stuck in victimhood—the opposite of the empowering smooth sailing career you desire!
  1. “I Can’t” vs. “I Can”: The truth is all of us are magnificently wired quantum thinking, problem-solving career generating beings. It’s just a matter of whether you’re willing to own your full power. When you lock into, “I can’t” before your amazing brain has an opportunity to weigh in, you lose. You see what you say is a self-fulfilling prophecy. With an “I can’t” attitude, you reinforce barriers to your progress. Conversely, as you say “I can,” creative energy is released that bursts into career enhancing outcomes.
  2. Fear vs. Clarity: Allowing yourself to be mired in fear, freezes your career before it even has the chance to launch. Remind, yourself that the emotionally charged notions swirling through your head are likely nothing more than False Evidence Appearing R[3] You have a choice to either move toward clarity and resolution or remain stuck in anxiety. Altering your attention propels you thoughtfully into the action that generates a way through or around instead of living in the debilitating inertia of fear.

Whether you buy into it or not, the battle of the mind is where satisfaction and fulfillment occurs.

What side of the equation are you planning to tap into to produce the career of your choice? It’s pretty obvious. If you give in to Spiraling Down, or “I can’t” or Fear based thinking, you’re setting yourself up for a rough journey.

It is always your choice. What’s it going to be?

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/tykiisel/2012/10/16/65-of-americans-choose-a-better-boss-over-a-raise-heres-why/#75cbdf1c76d2[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidsturt/2018/03/08/10-shocking-workplace-stats-you-need-to-know/#61152c88f3af
[3] I don’t know where I first heard the acronym for FEAR so I’m unable to credit it.

Building Bridges In The Face of Dissension Isn’t Easy—It’s Imperative

Three girlfriends gathered for “Whine Night” customarily a lively evening. This one was no different, except it had an uneasy edge to it. Instead of waking up the next morning with a smile on my face, I was heartsick for our country and its people.

Why?

When the three of us, who respect and value one another, can’t find common ground regarding today’s volatile, political environment, something is wrong. No matter which side of the debate—even those who are standing somewhere in-between—the divisive chasm in our country is growing more profound and unbending every day that passes. It’s difficult to hold out hope for the future of our country in such an environment. But if we don’t who will?

And it isn’t merely in politics where you see such polarizing, conflict-ridden arguments occurring. We witness it in relationship gulfs whether personal or business.

I started considering where I was responsible for the breakdown in our “Whine Night” conversation. It’s all well and good to stand up for what you believe right. The secret is how to do it without negating the views and values of others.

Here’s a few hints to bridge the gap:

Uncover Commonalities:
Such a concept may seem simplistic. It isn’t. It requires commitment and hard work. Without respect for the opinions of others, constructing bridges isn’t possible. We’re not referring merely to valuing a person. What’s required is far more profound. You have to honor everyone’s right to reach conclusions poles apart from your own as well.

Love Is The Bridge: What is love doing in the midst of a contentious situation? It’s at the heart of the issue! I remember watching a YouTube video where a strawberry was subjected to love, and another strawberry received hateful energy. One berry flourished while the other didn’t.[1] What’s the point? The power of hate, dislike, disrespect is felt in a person’s soul shriveling up any willingness to remain in the dialogue. You need to prepare the soil to reach a viable, healthy decision; and love revives the human soul.

Use Your Words: The significance of words can’t be stated strongly enough. Some fire-up negativity and resistances while others open the conversation to a healthy interchange of ideas. Be careful, as a bridge builder, you’re choosing words that will bring about the outcome you intend to generate. Begin by eliminating any blame or disapproval from the discussion.

Breakout of the Big Into the Small: It is easier to reach workable alternatives when you’re in an eye-to-eye, acceptance-to-acceptance relationship with someone else. So, if the larger group locks into rigidity, break the groups up into twos or threes to begin the process of building relationships of respect and honor whose purpose is to understand one another’s pain as well as hope points.

A Big Hug Does A World of Good: Never underestimate the human touch especially when emotions run amuck in the midst of resolution. A study by Carnegie Mellon found those who received hugs (consensual, of course) during the days they had conflicts experienced smaller increases in negative emotions that continued into the next day.[2]

Persevere With Expectation: If you think it can’t be worked out, it won’t. Perseverance trusts that breakthrough can and will occur. The hard fact is that if you stop the process, you lose all possibility of working out the problem. Continuing in open-ended, respectful dialogue means there is hope.

What’s In The Greater Good: 
Put away your much-prized solution and “already acknowledged” loyalty to a particular outcome; and instead, start choosing what is in the greater good of the country or the family or the company. Such a fresh perspective isn’t a natural response. It is, however, a sign of wisdom and maturity.

Breakdowns of all kinds are no small issue in today’s world of ever-increasing dissension in every area of our lives. Let’s all promise to be bridge builders. It may not be a trouble-free role to take on, but it’s the only one which will have us as a people rising to become all we were created to be.

 

[1]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYa_iM9ymoc
[2] https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2018/10/04/carnegie-mellon-university-hug-study/

What Happened To All The Tech Promises?

Right this moment in Colorado, we’re experiencing an overcast, dreary skyline along with a bone-deep, chilling rain (still beautiful). As I sit in front of the fireplace, my mind drifts into past business tech promises. Tracking the real-life outcomes seemed a worthy pursuit.

Interested in coming along on the journey?

Do you remember….?

Paperless Business: I don’t know about you, but papers surround me and are central to my business, but then, I’m an entrepreneur. How are corporations matching up? I found: 

  • Statistics reveal that the number of pages consumed in U.S. offices is going up at a startling rate of 20 percent per year.[i]
  • While about four out of five businesses say they are making an effort to use “less paper,” nearly a third are actually ordering more paper than they were five years ago.[ii] 

Of course, you remember the conjecture our soon to be paperless society would reduce the cost of document storage. It doesn’t look as though we’ve achieved the dream in this area either.

  • S. businesses waste $8 billion annually just managing paper. It costs an organization an average of $20 to file a document, $120 to find a misplaced document, and $220 to reproduce a lost document.[iii]

The hope of the cost savings predicted through paperless organizations is still the carrot in front of many today with a 2016 study announcing more than 80 percent of small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) said they want to cut paper out of their business process.

Emails Improve Communication and Efficiency: We all have come to realize emails are a cost-effective method to meet instant communication needs, but indeed, it hasn’t turned out to be the-be-all-and-end-all as touted. We’re all experiencing email overload: 

  • Collectively, North America workers spend nearly 75 billion in emails every year at a cost of $1.7 trillion a year.[iv]

Ironically, the projected liberator of employee’s productivity hasn’t changed in nearly 20 years. It’s not just inefficient it’s an enormous waste of time.[v]

Telecommuting: Working from home was once peddled as the idea that will “empty buildings.” That appears to be a bit of an exaggeration as office structures rise into the sky with more under construction every day. Today a mere,

  • 3 million employees (3.2 percent of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time.[vi]

Companies haven’t given up on this concept:

  • Fortune 100 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile. Studies repeatedly show they are not at their desk 50 to 60 percent of the time.[vii]

But working from home isn’t the answer for everyone—I love it—when you look at the growing office sharing movement.

  • There are currently 15,500 co-working spaces in the world today.[viii]

Its enthusiastic supporters say:

  • 64 percent of coworkers share they are better able to complete tasks on time. [ix]
  • And 50 percent report higher income.[x] 

Traveling back-and-forth in time has been an educational journey. Despite concepts not coming to fruition as envisioned, it in no way should blind you to potential. Of necessity, you can only remain relevant in today’s fast-moving work climate by keeping your eyes and ears, but more crucially your mind, open to new ideas!

[i] https://getreferralmd.com/2011/09/referral-management-tracking-software/
[ii] https://www.corpmagazine.com/technology/82-percent-companies-still-spending-billions-paper/
[iii] https://www.trackvia.com/blog/technology/47-percent-of-business-data-stored-in-the-cloud/
[iv] https://www.inc.com/graham-winfrey/the-staggering-cost-of-business-email.html
[v] Ibid
[vi] https://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/telecommuting-statistics
[vii] Ibid
[viii] https://www.statista.com/topics/2999/coworking-spaces/
[ix] https://www.officevibe.com/blog/11-incredible-coworking-statistics-infographic[x]
Ibid

Captivated By Turning Nothing Into Something?

By any other name: “Turning Nothing Into Something” is another way of verbalizing your innate innovative drive.

Perhaps, you’re vehemently shaking your head in protest: “Not me! My mind doesn’t work that way.

Au Contraire!

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, humans are wired to be creative! I won’t go into the detail—the top of your head would explode like an overripe watermelon as mine did, but within each of us is the capacity for quantum thinking—the mind’s ability to function at a higher level of creativity and innovation. “It is a reminder of how powerful our thinking really is.”[1]

Your capacity is good news, with research revealing over 96 percent of surveyed executives saying they’re at risk[2] from the disruption of emerging technology and companies.

The demand for executives to be flexible, agile, and innovative in their response to disruption is unprecedented. Not only will you be playing career catch up, but you’ll be unable to design the job of your dreams if you don’t open the cages of your mind to become the innovative thinker you were created to be.

And meaningful opportunities exist all around you, with 57 percent of respondents saying their companies do not follow formal innovation processes.[3] Such a statistic signifies there’s a ton of white space begging for your expertise and attention.

Begin by paying attention to two primary types of innovative activities:

  1. Conceptualizing new products and services that have never existed before. High-performing companies are 3X more likely to strive for first-mover advantage; and 2X as likely to report being risk-seeking when pursuing innovation. With high-performers 5X more likely to build a culture of innovation across every business function.[4]
  2. And incremental problem-solving improvements and/or expanding current products and services. In actuality, 78 percent of businesses allocate portfolios on continuous innovation—iterating on the status quo rather than on disruptive risks. This includes enhancing existing products/services, cutting costs, and efforts focused on productivity.[5]

Recognize new ideas are more significant to the economic viability of your company. Although such breakthroughs take longer to bring to market, they generate the income flow, which retains your organization’s competitive advantage.

As the expert in your field, you’re the most knowledgeable, capable person to recognize new product ideas, and/or improvements well before senior management ever has a whiff of the issue.

  • Look at what your CEO has identified as the company’s strategy. What potential ideas and actions can you start working on that may align your job or your division with the long-term direction of your company.
  • What are your competitors doing that are clues to future products or services your company could or might be offering?
  • What do you see are the biggest dilemmas your organization is facing? Begin exploring ideas or processes to mitigate the concerns.
  • What concepts can you initiate to add to the bottom-line?

These questions should be top of mind every day, especially if you’re committed to growing your career and promoting your company’s long-term success.

 

[1] Think, Learn Succeed, Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, The Workplace, and Life, by Dr. Caroline Leaf, page 221-222. Recommended read by Nancy Fredericks. Not easy and well-worth it!
[2] https://www.cbinsights.com/research-aw-state-of-innovation-report?utm_term=%2Bstate%20%2Bof%20%2Binnovation&utm_campaign=Reports&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_tgt=kwd-410971515495&hsa_grp=59161738470&hsa_src=g&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_mt=b&hsa_ver=3&hsa_ad=268287854150&hsa_acc=5728918340&hsa_kw=%2Bstate%20%2Bof%20%2Binnovation&hsa_cam=270202443&gclid=CjwKCAjw85zdBRB6EiwAov3Rip2I_rmLNBH0M-aUw5yJL1L_gu6jgef7vCRk5LO1phr9M5HHIKCt5BoC4A8QAvD_BwE
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

Do you look forward to work? If you don’t, a turnaround is in your hands by leveraging two facts:

  • First, you spend at least a third of your life working, so it ought to be doing something you enjoy.
  • And second, as a human being, your primary driving force is to be all you can be. A study by Quantum Workplace confirms employees listed professional growth as one of their highest drivers of engagement.[i]

These two concepts alone are a clarion call to grab the reins of your professional development by connecting your work performance with the profitability and growth of your company.

You may be exclaiming: “Say, what?”

Hold on a second.

Everyone knows profit and growth is crucial for the survival of a company. It’s all we read about, but what’s an often ignored reality is that’s it’s also the success formula for employees.

Before rejecting this theory out of hand, check out the blueprint provided below which aids in visualizing the thought-process.

(DEB; HERE IS WHERE THE ROADMAP GOES. THANKS.)

Energized employees change everything around them for the better—including careers. Not surprising, as 62 percent of highly engaged organizations reported being in the top quartile of financial performers in their industries as compared to 40 percent among the less engaged organizations.[i]

Here are a couple of mindset shifts to smooth the way for you:

  • Connect Your Professional Development With the Goals of Your Company: Research by DecisionWise reports career advancement and promotions are what employees see as giving them growth and development opportunities.[ii] Understandable, and yet short-sighted. Your future is based not on your salary rather it’s the breadth and depth of the skills you offer a business. The balance sheet of your company is an often overlooked performance feedback loop revealing your progress as an employee. How’s your scorecard stacking-up as you mesh your passions along with adding value to the mission of the company?
  • Connect You Work Activities With Improvement: Innovation has changed the face of your customer’s reality by offering an extraordinary array of groundbreaking products and services not imaginable a few short years ago. And it has radically transformed the role of employees.

Now is the ideal time to turn your eye on what you can do to improve profitability particularly in areas that energize you. You see research, as well as subjective experience, bear out that those doing the work are more aware of problems and solutions then are the leaders of the company.

So, the secret for you, as an in-house expert, is to have an innovative mindset:

  • How can I change my slice of the world for the better?
  • What solutions will make my part of the company produce enhanced products/or services?
  • What repetitive breakdowns do I see cropping up? Are there any corrective measures I can advocate to correct them, particularly by paying attention to the white space between functional areas?
  • What innovative missteps do I see within my department? Can I petition my boss to lead the charge as an opportunity to “upskill?”

Amazon calls this “choose-you-own-adventure.” You see, as you align your professional career prospects to the growth and profitability of your company, everyone achieves tangible benefits. That’s really the blueprint for a winning formula!

[i] Gallup, State of the American Workplace, page

[ii] https://www.decision-wise.com/growth-and-development-opportunities-and-employee-engagement/

[i] https://9clouds.com/blog/dont-hold-us-back-motivate-employees-with-opportunities-for-growth-at-work/