Category: Uncategorized

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

What Are Your 2021 Goals?

What Are Your 2021 Goals?

Before we wrap up 2020, I want to thank you for reading The Shift every other week, for being open to learning new things and/or thinking about them differently. Writing a bi-weekly blog has been an experience, teaching me discipline and focus.

Next week, I’m meeting with my Executive Coach to share my personal and professional goals for 2021. Having an accountability partner and a deadline will make my goals more tangible and increase the likelihood of actually doing them!

As we turn the page on 2020, what are you thinking about for 2021?

#WiseWords
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
Pablo Picasso

Worth the Share

This short article from the website Thrive Global, highlights the importance of setting goals and making sure they are measurable. While the article doesn’t include this common acronym, I live by it. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Read on to learn a bit more about the Power of Goal Setting. Read on.
And Finally...
Maybe take some time over the next couple of weeks to write your goals for 2021. Maybe start a daily practice of journaling? I journal daily because it sets me up to have a great, intentional day.​ Since I so believe in the power of gratitude, I make sure to include a few things I’m grateful for too. Today I’m grateful for you. Enjoy the end of year break with friends and family – in person or via zoom. Wishing you all the best for the year ahead! Mary Jo

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

The Soft Skill That Matters

The Soft Skill That Matters

Even before Covid hit this year, changes were taking place in how companies manage annual or quarterly performance reviews. There is a movement away from numeric scoring and boxes that are checked with “does not meet expectations”. Now, some companies are pushing back performance reviews altogether while others are adjusting goals and lowering expectations. Since many of us are under significant stress at home and work these days, the review process at many firms is being modified to be kinder and gentler, more empathetic and caring.

One of the companies I’m working with has moved to a coaching model for performance reviews, which demands a manager who takes the time to really listen, ask good questions and be more empathetic. It encourages employees to be active in the process and managers to have frequent check-ins throughout the year, while focusing on the goals of the company. Yes, it takes more of a concerted effort but it seems to be paying dividends. Empathetic leadership is the name of the game!

#WiseWords
I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.
Maya Angelou​

Worth the Share

The skills that companies look for when it comes to their leaders and managers is also shifting. We are moving from authoritarian, autocratic, transactional or bureaucratic leaders to more authentic, agile, affiliative or even salient types of leaders.

What we do know is that soft skills matter. How we treat others, open up to others and show our vulnerability makes a huge impact on company culture and performance. One important aspect is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings, joys and sorrows. Developing an empathetic leadership style can pay dividends.

Read on.

And Finally...

Work is busy, especially for those of us who are closing out the fiscal year, and as the holidays ramp up, so does our stress levels. Now more than ever, self-care is critical.

Think about what you eat, how often you move and how well you sleep. A healthy diet is linked to better moods, lower depression and more energy. Exercise is critical to increased blood flow and improved memory. A good night’s sleep is tied to increased focus and creativity and improved empathy. Yes, EMPATHY!

Take care of yourself…as they say on the airlines (remember them?) “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others”. Remember to prioritize you own self-care.

Happy Holidays, Mary Jo

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

Why Gratitude?

Why Gratitude?

Since it is the day before Thanksgiving, I would be remiss not to talk about the power of being grateful. A formal gratitude practice, such as journaling what you are grateful for each day, or simply being grateful as a way to live your life, can have a tremendous impact. 

Gratitude opens the door to more relationships, improves physical and psychological health, enhances empathy and reduces aggression, improves self-esteem and increases mental strength. And the best benefit of all? Being grateful improves your quality of sleep! List provided by Psychology Today, but the emphasis on sleep is mine. A good night’s sleep is so important.

Everyday, I am grateful for the opportunity to work as an executive coach (and of course, I’m grateful for my amazing family and friends).

#WiseWords

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

Charles Dickens

Worth the Share

Another thing I’m grateful for is the opportunity to work remotely so that I can partner with clients all over the country.

Did you know that 74% of millennials would actually prefer to work remotely and not go back to their office? Regarding the pandemic and remote work, can we return to the way we worked pre-Covid? Do we even want to? This article from Gallup examines how important remote work is to millennials because it gives them the flexibility and work-life balance they crave.

And Finally...

Covid has brought many trials and tribulations, but for many of us, it has also brought forth some silver linings. Maybe we are spending more time with family, or slowing down a bit, maybe we’ve started a new, healthy routine that has made a positive impact or reconnected with people we have lost touch with. As you make your final preparations for your Thanksgiving Holiday, can I ask you a question? What is one thing you are grateful for?

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving,

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 does the word “leadership” mean to you?

What does the word “leadership” mean to you?

What does the word “leadership” mean to you? As an executive coach, I have the privilege of working with many different leaders who are open to change. By perceiving new ways of thinking and acting, trying new things, looking at their emotions, holding themselves accountable and making peace with the past, coaching clients benefit from making transformative shifts in themselves as professionals and as humans.

The models of leadership have also been changing over the last several decades as we have shifted from an autocratic style to a more collaborative style of leadership. Things like emotional intelligence, vulnerability, empathy, building trust and social intelligence are just some of the important components that are considered when talking about leadership today.

#WiseWords

“Leadership is not a title. Leadership is not a position. But rather, leadership is a mindset. Leadership is a way of being.”

Michelle L. Buck

Worth the Share

What does it mean to be vulnerable as a leader? Back in the day, managers where supposed to have all the answers and keep any personal struggles to themselves. We just powered through. 

Thankfully, that model is going the way of the dodo bird due to the understanding that being vulnerable as a leader has a powerful upside. When a leader is vulnerable, deep connections are made with the team, trust is built up and teams are more creative and innovative. “Being vulnerable is not a weakness” according to Bhavik Shah, the author of this article from Thrive Global.

And Finally...

Back in 1995, Daniel Goleman wrote the book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. This book and subsequent volumes of additional research has made a tremendous impact on leadership as we manage and understand our own emotions and those emotions of our team. If you are curious to learn more, read the book which is now in its 10th edition or watch Goleman’s various videos. A fun one I really like is from OnePercentBetter, check out this link.  

 

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

What Deaf People Can Teach Others About Virtual Communication

What Deaf People Can Teach Others About Virtual Communication

Have you noticed that talking with someone through a mask is difficult? Since 50% of our body language is communicated through our facial expressions, having a mask cover about 50% of the face severely inhibits our ability to communicate and connect with others and vice versa. It’s maddening.

When wearing a mask, we all need to slow down our cadence to speak more clearly and articulately, really connect through eye contact and put more energy into our voice so that we are speaking louder and with more energy. Trying to understand someone through a mask is especially difficult for those of us with a hearing impairment.

Since it seems that we will be wearing masks for many months to come, make a conscious effort to communicate effectively. Now more than ever we need to lean into kindness, patience and humanity, and truly listen to others.

#WiseWords
“Listening is not merely not talking…it means taking a vigorous human interest in what is being told to us.”
Andrew Miller

Worth the Share

If you know someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, you are probably aware of the need to be intentional when speaking or communicating with them. This article from the Harvard Business Review takes that intentionality to a whole new level as it explores what the hearing impaired can teach us about communicating via video conferencing. My favorite point is to pace yourself on video calls, don’t race through, so that there can be a thoughtful exchange of information. Also, the author supports something I have said many times, wear solid color tops since patterns can be visually distracting. Read on for more helpful tips…

And Finally...

Last week I had the opportunity to present Using Communication as a Competitive Advantage virtually to about 100 women for Fairygodboss, a comprehensive website for women and their careers.

We covered ten common communication misses that we are often not aware of and various techniques to become a more confident communicator during high stakes situations. If you would like to view the presentation, you can find it here.

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