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Is Your Clock “Ticking” Leadership Time?

Today’s marketplace requires leadership judgment at every level of the organization—every day!

Unquestionably, a company’s most valued resource is its workforce. It’s the gold standard by which their ongoing viability is assessed.

In turn, high-potential employees recognize the key asset they tender a company is not their expertise alone, but how they make their time count.

The burning question: How does the Tick-Tock of your clock match up?

Do you give more than your company is paying you for, but less than what you consider perfection? According to a Harvard Business Review study, the average CEO works 9.7 hours per weekday, 3.9 hours per weekend day, and 2.4 hours per vacation day. An ownership mindset is persistent in pursuit of excellence, which entails more than an eight-hour day. However, they, also, recognize striving for perfection pays diminishing returns, so they don’t get ensnared in such a time-drain trap. Leverage is the name of the game as owners focus on pursuing the right strategy with the right people.

Do you think as much about inspiring others to action as you do completing work yourself? The old saying: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime” is undoubtedly true. In a business environment, such a commitment opens the door for a far higher level of production than you can do on your own. The Center for Management and Organizational Effectiveness found such a focus on executive’s daily calendar: Over 50 percent of leaders spend more time working with people and teams than their own tasks or projects. They actually only spend one hour and 45 minutes per day on their tasks and projects. Are you committed to expending time producing powerful results through others?

Do you block time for thinking, exploring, and “contemplating your navel” on your calendar? If you do, you’ll be joining some of the most successful businessmen in our country, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, for instance, makes his executives spend 10 percent of their day, or four hours per week, just thinking. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules two hours of uninterrupted thinking time per day. Jack Dorsey is a serial wanderer. Bill Gates is famous for taking a week off twice a year just to reflect deeply without interruption. I bet you’re arguing: “But I have no control. At my level, my entire day is orchestrated by others.” Thus, this advice may seem counterintuitive, and yet, the reality is if you solely focus on filling your schedule with busy “to-do” activities alone you’ll never grow and develop your business craft. With such an attitude, you’ve set yourself up. Your business muscle is all about performing production, but you haven’t built your mental muscle in preparation for the onslaught of the daily challenges slamming non-stop your way as you ascend in your company
Do you invest your time, talent, and personality in proactively developing relationships? Genuine power in an organization stems from the relationship connections you nurture. Ultimately, they are far more valuable and bring about greater positive consequence to your career trajectory than tasks, and positions ever will. Delivery can’t be your only attention the relationships you generate now are your long-term difference-makers.

Tick-Tock how does your clock measure you as a leader now and moving forward?

Innovation Depends on Your “Tomorrow” Attention

According to a PwC report, 93 percent of business executives believe that organic growth through innovation will drive the greater proportion of their revenue growth.C

Wow! That’s pretty unambiguous. And yet, does the urgency facing your organization translate into daily actions?

Allow your work calendar to answer for you.

What percentage of the past week did you spend on innovative, originating thinking that didn’t have any current timelines attached to the project?

Within the last week, the evidence of such inattention was brought home as I led a MasterMind program where we thoughtfully examined innovation. The homework leading into the meeting was the very same question I just challenged you to explore. I’m willing to bet your answer was the very same as the MasterMind group:

100 percent of their work was deadline-driven today activities—not a nanosecond of their time was on tomorrow.

Oops. Such singular concentration on today accomplishments presents a problem for your future as a Booz and Allen survey brings to light 84 percent of executives considered their future success to be very or extremely dependent on innovation.

If you’ve obtained an “Aha” and are ready to unleash your innovative thoughts, it necessitates asking relevant questions to get the juices flowing, and then, taking action. Start priming the pump of your innovative-well with these questions!

  • How can I change my slice of the world for the better?
  • What solutions can I make in my part of the company to produce better products or services?
  • What repetitive breakdowns do I see? Anything I can do to correct them?
  • How will I align these future ideas for new and/or improved processes, products/services within my organization? Who can I share my thoughts with who could be my ‘champion?’

Without question, you’re the most capable person to recognize the problem and/or improvement concerns well before senior management has a whiff of the issue.

Endeavor to put the ideas you’ve generated into a corporate context.

  • Look at what your leaders have identified as your company’s strategic direction. Any potential ideas and actions you can start working on today that will align with the long-term course of your company’s tomorrow?
  • What are your competitors doing? They offer clues to future products or services your company could or should be providing.
  • What do you see as the biggest dilemmas your organization is facing? Any ideas on how to mitigate the concerns?
  • What concepts can you initiate that would add to your organization’s bottom line?

Now, it’s time to explore these areas of possibilities and personalize them for you and your career.

Explore doing something only you can do.

  • Look into parts of the business you have a natural aptitude for and that you find intriguing. After all, why work on something that isn’t of interest to you? It’s your playground after all.
  • Then, don’t forget to align all possibilities with your company’s strategic direction and/or to improve the bottom-line.
  • Open your creative juices to reveal ground-breaking ideas!

You’ve empowered your brain with future thinking that will support the growth of your career—not to mention the profitability of your company. Now imagine: What will transpire if you acknowledge the veracity of this blog, and yet, never initiate action?


Not All Professional Storms Are In The Forecast

The sea change occurring in business today presents exciting, boundless career horizons for women. Right now, we stand on the brink of all women have worked so hard to achieve, even as businesses around the globe are simultaneously laboring under unprecedented forces disrupting and changing, where being smarter, faster, and more flexible is essential.

We, woman, know our potential is unlimited. Yet, no advanced warning system alerts you to the threats set to knock you off-course.

Women, is there anything you can proactively do to ensure you’re at the helm of your professional future?

You bet there is!

It begins by putting yourself at the top of your “to do list” as Michelle Obama shared with Barbara Walters: “A lot of times we slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else.

For many, it’s an uncomfortable exercise, and you may not even know where to start. Let’s look at three, course corrections, which offer career security in turbulent times.

Building Relationships: At the top of your “to do list,” should be expanding your professional network. This activity has a two-fold return on your time investment.

  1. To Be Knighted The Internal Choice: SHRM research determined, 44 percent of employees think it’s who you know that counts in getting ahead in their organizations with only one-in-three thinking it is merit.
  2. To Quickly Find an External Position: As Matt Youngquist, President of Career Horizons says: “At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs, are not published.” The majority of hires are through network referrals.

Driving For Relevancy: Vital to a long-lived, thriving career is continuous growth and development. On average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months, but according to IBM, the “internet of things” is leading to doubling of knowledge every 12 hours—as compared to after World War II, when knowledge was doubling every 25 years! Burnt Glass Technology has it right when it says if you don’t dedicate time and attention to moving up the “human value curve,” you’ll be left behind wondering what hit you.  If you’re not a “yes” to learning, it’s time to adjust your priorities.

Expand Your Range: Unlike in years past, where there was an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)—the more left brain competencies, today’s fast-paced work environment, entails not only those abilities but an even broader array as well. Today’s in-demand soft skills are a more right brain pursuit encompassing emotional intelligence, writing, collaboration, creativity, as well as problem-solving to name a few. Relying solely on your left brain competencies year-after-year, you know the ones you proudly spent years perfecting, rather than taking on new ones, won’t guarantee job security. Such an attitude will most assuredly quash your future in today’s business reality.

Women, I hope “Aha’s are flashing before your eyes. Your attention can’t be only about the quality of work you perform. It also has to be about your preparation for the unexpected storms heading your way. That means a constant commitment to upping the ante in these three critical up-skilling practices: building relationships, driving for relevancy and expanding your range. If you don’t, you’re turning your back on your prosperous professional tomorrows.

Managers: Are You Feeling The Weight Of The World On Your Shoulders?

Well, you’re not mistaken.

The fact is who you are and how you interact with your staff impacts not only how they feel about the company, but the length of their employment. Gallup recognizes employees leave managers not companies.

You can see this as a burden or as a gift—it is your choice.

You may ask: “How can this be?

The trajectory of your career is in large part produced by the operational results you generate through your employees.

There’s no question being an effective manager isn’t an easy role that’s why not everyone makes the grade. Every day more is put on your plate with ever-tightening deadlines. In such an environment, it’s difficult not to lose track of management responsibilities.  Let’s take a look at several concepts which will help you soar as a manager. Read More→

Is Your Company Catching Glimpses Of Their Future In You?

There isn’t anything more crucial for your career than integrating innovation into your daily work experience.

Research from Burnt Glass Technologies slams this home with recent research showing approximately 12 percent of job openings today, and projected to grow over 21 percent the next 10 years will be hybrid positions…. More than double the rate of jobs overall!

These hybrid jobs require a combination of the creative right brain as well as left brain technical skills. And they’re less at risk to the disruption coming where PwC projects nearly 40 percent of jobs in the U.S. may be vulnerable to replacement by robots in the next fifteen years.

Already we see a slew of routine, repetitive jobs eliminated by technology and AI.

But before you get too nervous about your future employment, let’s examine how innovative you already are.

your last week:

  1. What percentage of your week did you expend on “fire-fighting,” “get it done” activities?
  2. What percentage of the week did you spend on innovative, originating thinking that didn’t have a current timeline attached to the project?

Most of my clients answer: “100 percent was deadline driven.”

If your intention is to be evaluated by your boss as a “work-a-bee” rather than a “high potential employee,” keep on doing the same old things in the same old way. But I don’t think that’s how you envision your future.

So, let’s turn your future around.

Are You Imprisoning Yourself In Your Job Description? Recollect, a peer you’ve worked alongside in the past; someone recognized as doing a superb job; and then, they were promoted or left the company.

Now, think of that newcomer who assumed the same responsibilities; and they too were stellar.

“Did the job look the same under both executives?”

I bet the answer is an emphatic, “No!”

Everyone brings their particular brand of giftedness, skills, and point of view to the job. There are more expansion opportunities for more of you and your innovative mind to show up than you credit.

Are You Thinking R.E.D.? As projects and assignments cross your desk, reflect on:

“What can I Reduce, Eliminate and/or Delegate that won’t harm the outcome?”

As you assess your job with new eyes, you open pockets of time on your calendar.

Are You Working Within Your “Golden Touch?” Many employees—mainly, managers—spend much of their time on tasks well below their expertise. Then, wonder why they’re collapsing under the sheer weight of their workload.

Scrutinize the assignments crossing your desk, asking yourself:

  1. “Does it involve my “Golden Touch” (A combination of what your company hired you to do, your expertise, your strengths, and your passion.)
  2. Does this assignment expand someone else’s proficiencies?
  3. Does it comprise one of my subordinates or peer’s interests?

You unlock time on your schedule when you grow yourself and others through mentoring and delegating. Now, you’ve freed your calendar a bit to innovate in ways that will enhance the organization. And you have ideas!

Your improvements along the way will expand your continued relevance and career growth. And because you’re carving out time to think in a frame of reference your peers are not; your organization is going to be catching glimpses of their future in you!