Author: MJ Romeo

What about you?

What about you?

Do you own your value, the value that you bring to your job every day? Do you own the contributions you make? Are you valued by others at the company? How do you know?

One of my clients, someone quite senior at a fast-paced start-up with thousands of employees, was told that her role would change – without any discussion with her or her current boss. She was flipping out and said she felt like a pawn at the company, even though she was recruited by the CEO and regularly worked with members of the C Suite. She did not feel valued. Her gut reaction….QUIT.

In a really tight labor market, it is even more important that we own our value and value those we work with. It matters.

#WiseWords

Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.

M. Scott Peck, Author The Road Less Traveled

Worth the Share

When looking for a job, owning your value is critical. This article talks about your Personal Value Proposition (PVP), and how to build one when looking for a job. I would argue that even if you are not in the job market, being crystal clear about what drives you professionally has a ton of value.

The example given by the author is quite interesting, but I’m not really sure why he said: “Steve is a tall, 54 year old manufacturing executive.” Why comment on his height? I thought that was odd.

His four steps to building your PVP, however, were quite useful:

  1. Set a clear target: big company, small, remote, public, private,start up….be specific.
  2. Identify YOUR strengths: Again, be specific. What are you really good at? The Clifton Strengths Assessment can help.
  3. Tie your strengths to your target position: Connect the dots for the hiring manager, make it obvious that your strengths ladder up to that position. Make sure your resume mirrors your strengths to.
  4. Provide evidence and success stories: I call these your case studies. Bring your strengths to life in a tangible way to prove to the hiring manager that you are the right fit for that job.

For more details, read on.

And Finally...

What is the value you bring to your work, do you own it? Many of my clients, who are smart, hard working professionals, do not own their value. They get intimidated by those at a higher level and articulate that those at a higher level have more VALUE than they do. But is that true?

Everyone at every level of an organization has value. Companies cannot function without lots of people doing lots of different jobs. Each of those jobs contributes to the success of the company, and the people in those jobs bring their value, their relative worth, to the organization.

Know the value you bring to every organization you are involved in. Own it!

Have a great week,
Mary 
Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Do you?

Do you?

“Trust: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; one in which confidence is placed” (Webster’s Dictionary)

Trust is a big word. We need to trust, but these days, it seems like there is a lack of trust across many facets of our lives.

Trust is fragile. It gets eroded when people lie because you can no longer believe that person, brand or institution. When we have a bad experience, our ability to trust long-term suffers. The old adage: “once bitten, twice shy” clearly speaks to our fear of engaging when trust is eroded.

Working remotely has eroded trust in many organizations. Some research from Harvard said that almost a third of managers reported not trusting the competence of their own employees.

One of my clients who works remotely said yesterday that she doesn’t trust her manager or her company. Does that impact her work? Of course it does.

#WiseWords

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that
from now on I can’t believe you.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Worth the Share

What if we could intentionally work to build trusting relationships? I enjoyed this Thrive article that talks about granting trust because it is hopeful, and we can all use a little hope right now.

Written by Mike Robbins, he talks about the opportunity to consciously build trust, which will result in deeper connections, cooperation and collaboration in our personal and professional lives.

This quote from Albert Einstein says it beautifully: “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” Eternal optimist that I am, I’m going with friendly. Read on.

And Finally...

I had the privilege of doing some team alignment work with a leadership team that had trust issues. It was apparent that they knew trust was an issue, that it mattered to get on better footing and that they were willing to do the work to build up their trust in each other. Happily, they did the work and are now doing really well as a team.

What are some practical ways to build trust as a manager and as an employee? Research from Gallup shows that the more you trust someone and act accordingly, the more likely they are to trust you in return.

Other tips:

  • Communicate clearly. 
  • Have honest conversations. 
  • Be vulnerable.
  • Admit when you are wrong. 
  • Be humble. 
  • Be true to your word.
  • Recognize that trust builds over time. 
  • Be consistent.

Being a good human is a great place to start.

Have a great week,
Mary 
Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

How good are you at this?

How good are you at this?

Recently, when talking about communication, one of my clients piped up and said that for her, it’s not about communication but about effective communication. I LOVED that. She is so right, it’s an important distinction.

Think about recent communication misses that you have experienced, those are the opposite of effective communication. The times when you know or thought your colleague, client, friend or partner heard you, received and read that text or email, or understood exactly what you were saying… BUT THEY DIDN’T.

Communication misses happen every day. We’re in a rush or preoccupied with something. Recently I sent out an email to six managers to confirm a meeting time, and got an email back that read: “CST or EST?” I was embarrassed. I wasted my client’s time (all six of them), and added unnecessary emails into their overflowing inboxes. Some tips to minimize communication misses are: slow down, be fully present and truly listen.

#WiseWords

When you talk you are repeating what you already know. But if you
listen, you may learn something new.

Dalai Lama

Worth the Share

Listening is such an important skill. We can probably ALL get better at it.

Here is a short article from Angela Duckworth, one of my favorite authors and a teacher at UPenn. She finds she spews a “hydrant of facts” at her students when she is teaching, trying to share every possible idea related to a topic.

Her insight? Ask “authentic questions” so that she can listen to her students and hear from them. “The more we can let them (students) unmute themselves, express themselves, and actively engage rather than passively receive, the better.”

Actively engage versus passively receive. It’s the engagement that matters. Authentic questions, according to the author, are questions for which their is no simple answer. They stretch you.

Whether you are teaching students, managing a team or talking with colleagues, ask questions like “how has that impacted you?”, “what do you think about X?” or “what else?” to learn from others. Then, really listen to what they have to say.

And Finally...

As summer winds down, we are still faced with the never ending pandemic and tragedies around the world. Are you feeling worn down by it all? If so, are you listening to your body and giving it what it needs as we go back to school and ramp up for Q3 and Q4? What have you done for yourself this summer?

If you can’t think of anything, there are still a few days left. Commit to taking a day off to do something you’ve wanted to do or simply do nothing at all! Maybe start a new healthy habit such as 10 minutes of daily meditation or exercising for 30-minutes a day. We can very easily be ground down, do something to lift yourself up!like them to do

Continue growing. Ask for feedback.

Happy end of summer,
Mary 
Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

What are you doing to learn new things?

What are you doing to learn new things?

One of the things that most excites me about coaching individuals and groups is to witness when clients learn something new about themselves or their situation that they haven’t thought of before. The “light bulb” goes off, the “ah ha” settles in.

Learning stretches us, it opens us up to new ideas and challenges the status quo. We do, however, need to be intentional about it. Take time to learn new things. Racing from meeting to meeting, checking off items on your to-do list, and focusing on finishing tasks doesn’t leave much time to learn.

Coaching works because there is space to connect the dots and dig deep into an issue or situation. Making time to read, even reading this short newsletter, gives you the chance to learn something new. Lean into being genuinely curious, take a step back and ask a few good questions, do some research on a topic you want to know more about. Learn.

#WiseWords

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor
and attended to with diligence.

Abigail Adams US First Lady 1797-1801

Worth the Share

Take time to learn something new about the Olympics that just ended a few days ago. You will be fired up after you read various lessons about age, resilience and using your voice to make a difference.

Of the eight lessons, “Don’t be afraid to try something new” is my favorite. After dancing throughout high school, then moving to track and field, Discus Gold Medal Winner Valerie Allman first tried throwing the discus just to get a dinner invitation! And now she has a gold medal. Impressive. Try something new, learn, keep growing.

Read Eight Leadership Lessons From Women Olympians Competing in Tokyo from Fast Company. It will brighten your day!

And Finally...

Confession, I’m an assessment junkie. Digging into the results of an assessment like Clifton Strengths, NBI, or a 360 is fun for me. I love to learn more about myself, and especially love to learn about my clients so we can use the assessment results in our work together.

One of the 34 Clifton Strengths is Learner: “People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continually improve. The process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.”

While I like to learn new things and continually improve, I am trying to build the skill of learning, to appreciate and value the process of learning, and not rush to the answers. Are you a learner? What have you learned in the last 24 hours? What are you curious about?

Have a great week,
Mary 
Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Do you have one?

Do you have one?

The other day I got an email from a former group coaching client. It is always such a nice surprise to receive an update from former clients. If you fit into that category, reach out, I would love to hear how you are doing.

This former client is very intentional about her career, she is an active networker and often goes above and beyond. She is smart, has a high EQ and is driven to succeed. One thing we spoke about during our work together is the value of having a sponsor or two, not a mentor, but a sponsor. A sponsor is someone in your organization who will actively advocate for you and say, “What about ‘Jane’ for that role?” while a mentor shares their experiences and often gives you advice. Both are valuable but a sponsor can really help you advance professionally.

My client reached out to say that she took the discussion about sponsors to heart and actively pursued one, who she now meets with monthly. The great news is that my
former client is now being considered for an amazing new role at the company, and stated that her name would probably not have been on the list if she hadn’t pursued
the relationship with her sponsor. Be intentional about your career!

#WiseWords

Don’t wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder. Make your goals known and proactively develop relationships with those that can help get you there either in the form of mentors or sponsors.

Lynn Doughtie, Former US Chairman & CEO of KPMG

Worth the Share

Speaking of sponsors and mentors, this article takes the discussion of sponsors and mentors to a new level by adding mentees, competitors and partners to the list. It mentions that it is especially beneficial to develop these relationships early on in your career, and I agree. That said, we should all have a variety of advocates throughout our careers…it’s never too late.

Having mentees is a gift and reverse mentoring, where you and your mentee mentor each other, is enriching. I have mentored mentees who have mentored me on new technologies and new ways of thinking and doing.

The concept of focusing on competitors and partners to elevate your work is quite interesting too. Read “Five Relationships You Need to build a Successful Career” to learn more.

And Finally...

Here are three quick tips from the book: Unapologetically Ambitious, written by former IBM executive and tech CEO SHELLYE ARCHAMBEAU. It is a good read, filled with sage advice from a woman who strategically planned her life so that she could rise to the corner office and have a rich family life as well. Here are her top three tips:

  1. Ask directly and specifically for what you want.
  2. Plan for everything, but learn to improvise.
  3. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Have a great week,
Mary 
Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

A Great Tip to Help You Grow

A Great Tip to Help You Grow

“Feedback is a gift”. We’ve all heard that expression. It took me years to embrace it. When working at big corporations, the dreaded annual review would occupy my mind for weeks. I would fixate on what were perceived negative comments, even if they were few and far between.

Back then, I was looking at feedback all wrong! Honest feedback helps us grow personally and professionally. It helps us see ourselves from a different angle. It is so valuable.

Now, I ask for feedback often from clients, colleagues and friends. I ask: “what did you like, what can I do better” all the time. Client surveys improve my group coaching programs and workshops. While we are all surveyed to death, feedback matters.

#WiseWords

“We all need people who will give us feedback.
That’s how we improve.”

Bill Gates

Worth the Share

How do you give someone else good feedback?

This book expert provides some great advice about how to give feedback and explains why most of us do it poorly. Written by David Bradford, Ph.D. and Carole Robin, Ph.D., it provides a road map. They talk about three different areas of understanding: Intent, behavior and impact.

What really intrigued me is that they talk about WHY feedback often backfires, use a very useful tennis analogy to bring it to life, and also explain why kids can often give better feedback than adults. Here is the ARTICLE from the book Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues.

And Finally...

Here is an easy rule of thumb to follow: When you want to get feedback, ask for feedback from people you trust, ask them to be as specific as possible, then say: “thank you”. That’s it. Don’t get defensive. If you feel like the feedback was useful, incorporate it. If not, don’t use it. You get to choose.

When giving feedback, It’s important to be clear. Don’t sugarcoat it, you’ll confuse your colleague. I like this framework in an ARTICLE in HBR:

  • Describe the behavior you want to reinforce or correct
  • Explain the impact of the behavior
  • Outline what you would like them to do

Continue growing. Ask for feedback.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Mary 
Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Have you had a good laugh recently?

Have you had a good laugh recently?

People are struggling with endless Zoom or video calls. I have clients that are on 10+ video calls a day. One sales client said that she is pretty much doing the same sales pitch virtually six or seven times a day. That is exhausting. What makes this worse is that virtual calls are often BORING and lack real connection.

The more interactive you can make a virtual meeting, the better. Research is showing that if you infuse a bit of humanity, maybe even some laughter, it can pay off big time. When was the last time you had a good  laugh?

#WiseWords

“Laugh as much as possible, always laugh. It’s the sweetest thing one can do for oneself & one’s fellow human beings.”

Maya Angelou

Worth the Share

This new book, Humor, Seriously: Why Humor is a secret weapon in business and life is worth the read. According to the authors Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas, “Humor is a transformative super power”.

 

Here are five highlights shared by the authors in a recent book soundbite. They resonated with me so much, I thought I’d share them with you. One stat that really stuck me is that the average 4 year old toddler laughs about 300 times a day, but it takes the average 40 year old two and a half months to laugh that many times. How depressing!

 

  1. You can’t afford to be humorless – humor has of positive impact on human health and the bottom line. Leaders who use humor are seen as more confident and competent.
  2. Humor changes our brain – releasing healthy hormones that help with bonding. People with a sense of humor live longer too.
  3. We’ve lost our sense of humor – for those of us over 23 who have not yet retired, we often go through a few days without a good hearty laugh.
  4. Find your authentic humor style – we are all able to “cultivate joy” and have a sense of humor. See below to learn about your humor style.
  5. Humor mitigates life’s greatest regrets – by helping us live lives of greater meaning.

Click here to learn more about the book.

And Finally...

What is your specific humor style? I took the humor style test from the authors of Humor, Seriously and encourage you to do the same. You will also receive a brief report explaining your humor style. It is fun and only takes a few minutes. My authentic humor style is the Magnet. You can take the quiz HERE.

 

If you want an additional resource to learn about specific information about how to use humor effectively at work, check out this article from Harvard Business Review “Sarcasm, Self-Deprecation, and Inside Jokes: A User’s Guide to Humor at Work“. it includes highlights from several research studies about the use of  humor and provides some practical guidelines.

 

Go ahead, laugh. The benefits to your health and wellbeing are substantial.

Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

How clear of a communicator are you?

How clear of a communicator are you?

Communication, real communication, is much more difficult than we realize. When coaching a group the other day, we were talking about managing remote teams and that poor communication showed up as a gap throughout the organization. It’s not surprising, an Interact study found that 69% of managers are often uncomfortable when communicating with employees, and that study was done pre-Covid!

When people are remote it is important to communicate clearly and articulately. Ask them if they have what they need to be successful in their jobs. Do they have the right technology, a strong internet connection and a quiet place to work? One senior manager talked about always communicating the WHAT and WHY. “What” are we working on relative to the big picture and “why” does it matter to the department or company. Another spoke about communicating with colleagues by asking them to repeat back what was said to them in their own words, such as saying, “Tell me what you just heard, in your own words”.

Always take the time needed to communicate effectively, it’s a time saver in the long run.

#WiseWords

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw

Worth the Share
The words we use matter. Having worked with so many clients to elevate their communication skills, I am especially sensitive to language that does not show us in our best light. This article from Fast Company highlights six words that make us sound weak and ineffective. It also explains why these words make even the most accomplished person sound less than accomplished. I would add to their list phrases like: Don’t you think? Is that okay? Make sense? Would it be okay? These phrases make us sound less than confident, and diminish our executive presence. Read on to learn the six words… they will surprise you!
And Finally...
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a full-day workshop for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The book was originally published 32 years ago in 1989, and it’s still relevant today. While the habits were written in order for a specific reason and there is a lot to be said for their effectiveness, Habit 5 resonates with me most. Habit 5 – “Seek first to understand then to be understood” because the key to this habit is all about listening and communication. To understand – listen, and to be understood – be clear, articulate and concise and make sure you are in dialogue with the other person. Have a great week, Mary Jo
To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

And So It Begins, Again…

And So It Begins, Again...

The new year has begun. Covid vaccines are being distributed and we are all settling in to the reality that 2021 will feel a lot like 2020, especially for the next few months as cases continue to be high. That said, I remain an optimist because I’ve seen resilience in so many of my clients. They realize that there are many things they can control and they are working hard to become better communicators, better leaders and better prepared to handle the inevitable challenges that face all of us. When we continue to grow and make positive shifts in ourselves, we feel good. With January half over already, what gifts are you giving yourself? What new habit have you started, what have you chosen to do to make your life and the lives of those around you better?
#WiseWords

“Happiness is not something ready made. ​It comes from your own actions.”

Dalai Lama

Worth the Share
“50% of a person’s happiness level is genetically influenced”, according to Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project. That surprised me. I found this article from Fast Company interesting because in addition to genetics and things like health, education, and marital status, the choices we make each and every day influence our happiness. The surprise is that research shows in 2021 we are now as happy or happier than we were at this same time in 2020. How can that be? Apparently, 75% of those surveyed are feeling the same or better when compared to the same time last year and 79% have a stronger sense of purpose. Maybe this is a Covid silver lining? We’ve slowed down a bit and taken stock of what really matters. Read on to learn more.
And Finally...

One of the other areas I talk with clients about it is to acknowledge that it is okay not to feel okay. Give yourself and others permission to be exhausted by these trying times. Give yourself a break. Curl up with a good book, take a nap, have a bowl of ice cream. It’s okay to visit that space where we let our sadness show – just don’t live there.

 

When I was managing national sales teams, I used to tell team members to imagine stepping into a Yellow Box when they wanted to complain, whine, moan or morn something. The thing is, you can’t live in the Yellow Box, but you can visit it for a few minutes then make the choice to get out of the Yellow Box and on with your life.

Have a good week,

Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Are You Ready?

And So It Begins, Again...

It’s finally here. Happy 2021 to you and your families!

I am excited to start a new year (I always am), and especially excited to put 2020 in the rear view mirror. When thinking about a new year, and ways I want to grow personally and professionally, I think about habits.

Last year, I developed a habit of doing yoga every day. In all honesty though, it started on March 19 when my gym was closed due to Covid. Anyway, I only skipped one day (Christmas). When I finish my yoga practice everyday I have a sense of achievement and feel great. After doing it for so many months, practicing yoga daily is now a habit.

Developing positive habits can be hard.

Do you have a positive habit that you have started or would like to start this year?

#WiseWords

“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.

John Irving

Worth the Share

There are many resources to learn how to create good habits, if you dare to take that first step and commit to it. Atomic Habits by James Clear and Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg are both good books on the subject.

I personally like BJ Fogg’s approach where he uses this model: Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Prompt. If you’d like a short cut, here is a quick video on how it works:

And Finally...

It takes an average of 66 days to develop a new habit, but a habit can click in anywhere from 18 to 254 days, according to recent article in Healthline. When it comes to your health, starting a healthy exercise habit that delivers 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week is “the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth” according to Dr. Libby Richards of Purdue University.

Kick off this new year by investing in yourself in a positive way – commit to increasing your physical activity, create a new habit, reframe a tough situation, rethink your career goals or develop a new self-care routine. Whatever you do, take care of yourself and remember to have fun. Laughter is the BEST of all medicines.

Have a great start to 2021,

Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com