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Do you live with intention?

Do you live with intention?

Yesterday, a sales leader that I coach wanted to talk about how to manage the “fire alarms that are going off constantly”. “Dave” said that there is so much going on at work, everyone is running around like crazy and nothing is getting done. It sounded like mice running in a wheel.

We talked about Dave being more intentional with his communications so that his leadership understands the implications of their fire drills, allowing his team to get more focused and move the business forward. With all that is happening in the economy, things will get even rockier. How can we prepare for that?

Be intentional. One big area for Dave to work on is to be more intentional with his time. What about you? Do you take time to reflect, to strategize, to focus? Stop being a mice on a wheel.

#WiseWords

Intention is more than wishful thinking—it’s willful direction. It is a philosophy of the heart put into practice, a consistency of conscious patterns of thought, energy, and action. Through intention, we see more and create with more clarity, passion, and authenticity.

 Jennifer Williamson, author

Worth the Share

For many years, I have been reading Seth Godin’s daily blog. He often shares powerful insights and helps me to think of things differently. This blog really hit home. It’s a fresh way of thinking about knowledge work and how video conferencing, technology and the pandemic have forever changed what it means to work remotely or in the office.

So many companies want people to come back to the office because C-Suite executives think we must go back to the way it was. They miss the “water cooler conversations.” Seth argues that those hallway meetings were a happy accident of being in the office but making people come back to the office to assuage the CEO is a false reason. Be intentional about how to build culture in this new era. As a leader, what can you do to intentionally build a healthy culture in this remote/hybrid world?

Read Management with Intent to learn more.

And Finally...

Speaking of intention, it is really useful to be intentional with our words. In my July 20th blog post, I used the word “expert” when referring to client’s level of expertise as director of engineering. The word “expert” works for me but it may not work for him. When you think of your work, how would you describe your level of competence?

Are you skilled, adroit, adept or qualified? Maybe you prefer experienced, proficient or able?

When talking about ourselves, it is important to use language that is intentional and authentic.

Be intentional when establishing your remote work policy, in the language you use, in how you spend your time and throughout your life.

Enjoy these last weeks 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

Why are so many of us…

Why are so many of us…

The other day, I coached a client through the results of her 360 assessment, a valuable tool where several of her direct reports and managers provided her with confidential feedback on various skills including leadership, ability to motivate others, build talent, execute, innovate and communicate.

This client rated herself about 50% lower than others rated her on several different metrics including listening, managing time and important tasks and remaining focused. The gap was substantial! As I coached her through the results, she was genuinely stumped by the gap. There was another interesting insight, her managers rated her a lot lower on her leadership skills than her direct reports. My client does not own her value and it shows with upper management.

Are you being honest with yourself about the value you bring to your organization? I often ask clients “Are you missing the bragging gene?”

#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, Psychiatrist and author of The Road Less Traveled

Worth the Share

Knowing your own self-worth is critical, yet many of us do not really value ourselves and the value we bring to our clients, our companies and our relationships.

This article from Psychology Today digs into why so many of us have low self-worth, pointing out that when self-worth is tied to external factors it can be problematic.

Here are author Dr. Tchiki Davis’s four tips:

  1. Prioritize learning over performance: focus on growth, fail forward
  2. Adopt prosocial goals: be in service of others
  3. Reduce external contingencies: lean into your positive internal stories, own your value
  4. Focus on your strengths. Ask yourself these simple questions:
    1. What makes you are special or unique?
    2. What do you do that no one else does?
    3. What are your positive qualities?

If you would like to learn more check out 4 Ways to Know Your Worth

And Finally...

What surprises me in my work is how many people I coach, at all different stages of their careers, express to me that they have low or no confidence in themselves.

One of my newest clients, a director of engineering, told me today that he has no confidence in himself, and doesn’t understand why he is in his role since his peers are much

older than him and have much more experience. When I asked him what he is an expert in, he shared four things quite quickly. Interestingly enough, he could not say “I am an expert in these four things…”. He could not say it!

Own your strengths, own your value and own your awesomeness. And if you do not own these things, we can work on it together.

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

Let’s talk sales

Let’s talk sales

For those of you that know my story, you know that I led national sales teams for almost 20 years, and before that, I sold food to restaurants then advertising space for various media companies.

Recently, I have had the pleasure of coaching two different clients in the world of sales. For the first, I ran a workshop on sales do’s and don’ts for a global manufacturing company. It was so fun! The key insight from participants? We all pick up bad habits and having a “refresher course” is worthwhile, even for senior sellers. Keep learning.

My second client is the CEO of a tech start-up who is building out a sales team. He is open to learning and curious about what he does not know, including the fact that sales people think differently. Let’s be honest, sales people are different. Appreciate that, respect it, and appreciate the value they bring to the organization. We all play a role in the company’s success, and for most (if not all) companies, sellers are critical.

#WiseWords

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

Zig Ziglar

Worth the Share

This is the article I sent to my client. It is a bit dated (from 2012) but quite interesting. If you are not in sales or sales leadership, why should you care? Because it is about leadership.

Sales leaders:

  1. Lead with metrics: think about the pipeline and leading indicators in the sales process, not just closed deals
  2. Coach and develop talent: focus on further developing even top talent. Coaching is a powerful skill that makes an impact with sellers
  3. Provide strategic guidance: sales leaders are critical when it comes to bringing the big picture strategy to life, and helping sellers embrace and own that strategy
  4. Keep the focus on value creation: this is critical so that sellers believe in the value they create for their clients by helping to solve their client’s business challenges, thereby creating value for their own company as well

If you would like to learn more, read on.

And Finally...

Being a seller is not for everyone. You need to be prepared to handle rejection, live with a ton of stress, deliver on a “number” that you did not choose and navigate all the many demands of being a sales person. Yes, it can be challenging but it is also a great profession, especially when you are in good organization where they appreciate what sales people deliver.

Let’s be frank, without sales, most companies would not exist! If you are a seller, stand a little taller today. If you work with sales people, give them your thanks. They keep the lights on!

Oh, and if you are curious about my vacation? It was AWESOME. My advice, take a break, disconnect and enjoy your family and friends. Life is short. Enjoy!

Happy 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

Are you empathetic?

Are you empathetic?

Lately, I have been doing quite a bit of work with clients around their emotional intelligence, the work pioneered by Daniel Goleman in the 1990s. There are four buckets: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management. Under Social Awareness, the element that many managers find challenging to actively demonstrate with team members is empathy, the ability to tune into the other person’s thinking and feeling.

Yesterday, I coached a senior leader on how to coach her manager about their apparent lack of empathy and the negative impact it was having on the department. That is not as easy as it sounds. People that lack empathy are unaware of how they show up (low self-awareness) and don’t even realize that “walking in someone else’s shoes” matters. For leaders, however, having empathy is CRITICAL if you want to build a team and get the best from your team.

Here is some good news: you can learn to become more empathetic. How do you build empathy? Start by showing that you care by actually caring.

#WiseWords

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

Vivian Greene

Worth the Share

“Lead with love”, that sounds like truly strange advice in a professional context, but it is one of eight sound principles offered by Steve Farber in this article: Empathetic Leadership Begins with Love.

 

These principles are important for all of us, especially those who manage others. In the old days, we were often managed with an iron fist, but those days are long gone. Empathetic leadership builds trust, strong bonds and loyalty.

 

Here are his eight principles:

  1. Lead with love
  2. Open up team communication
  3. Be mindful of your own emotions and reactions
  4. Be an approachable and accessible leader
  5. Be transparent and fair by leading with empathy
  6. Socialize with employees
  7. Learn how to handle conflict in the workplace
  8. Establish empathy as company culture

Read on to learn more.

And Finally...

Empathy is a hot topic. Here is a TED talk from Jamil Zaki, a research psychologist from Stanford University who specializes on the subject of empathy. Entitled “We’re experiencing an empathy shortage but we can fix it together”, Jamil makes a compelling case about how we can make a difference. If you would like to be inspired and learn more, check it out. I especially loved his passion for and example from Star Trek.


To better tune into empathy (and the other 11 elements of emotional intelligence), I will be taking a real vacation to enjoy time off and recharge my battery. Soon our family of 14 will gather for some fun in the sun in southern CA. My next email will arrive in your inbox on July 6th. When will you be taking a break?

Have a reflective 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 take time to reflect?

Do you take time to reflect?

Two days ago, as a nation, we celebrated Memorial Day. Like many of us, I did some fun things – beach, pool, concerts, dinner with friends etc.

I also took time to reflect. Memorial Day has that kind of effect on me. One thing I did was attend a special service for all of those who lost their lives in service to this country. The ultimate sacrifice. It was poignant, powerful and humbling. I am a grateful American.

With my clients, I often challenge them to take time reflect. For some, you would think I was asking them to do something really dramatic, like jump off a building. I am kidding of course, but the concept of slowing down and building time into your schedule to regularly reflect is foreign to many of us. We are running too fast, simply too busy to breathe, think, ponder, question, challenge…reflect.

When was the last time you gave yourself time to reflect?

#WiseWords

Stop, think and use your brain! Don’t rush through life. Take time to reflect as you define what success means to you. Always remember you are one of a kind!

Archibald Marwizi, author

Worth the Share

I am really jazzed by the subject of reflection, especially since I have always moved fast. Even at a young age, my kid brother used to say to me: “Hey Mar, how’s life in the fast lane?”. Slowing down and reflecting does not come naturally to me, yet it is a powerful habit to learn.

Harry Kraemer, professor of strategy and former CEO of a multi-billion dollar healthcare company, is committed to a daily 15-minute reflection practice. In this article, he provides three ways that reflecting strengthens leadership:

  • Know Your Priorities and Where You Fall Short: be clear about your focus and curious about what can be done differently
  • Minimize Surprise: using the military as a guide, plan for every contingency and what can go wrong
  • Build Stronger Teams: Kraemer said “I have the responsibility to develop every person I touch”.

He also said: “If I’m going to help you develop as a leader, one of the first things I’m going to try to do is to help you understand the tremendous benefit of self-reflection.”

Enjoy this article from the Kellogg Institute, “How Self-Reflection Can Make You a Better Leader”.
And Finally...

Are you ready to take time to reflect? What will you reflect on? Here are a few ideas:

  • What are my values? Define them. How do I live them?
  • How can I make a bigger impact in my current role?
  • What is holding me back from becoming my best self?
  • Why am I limiting myself personally and professionally?
  • How can I give more of myself to the world?
  • Who have I made a positive impact on in the last week?
  • What do I want more of in life? What do you want less of?
  • What am I being intentional about?
  • And, from the above article: If I lived today over again, what would I have done differently?
Have a reflective 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 has not changed?

What has not changed?

Two weeks ago I wrote about some changes to the job market. Yes, some things have changed but much has not.

It is still the candidate’s job to convince the hiring manager that they really WANT the job, that they are serious and committed to joining the team. One of my very senior clients was being aggressively recruited for a big job, and she did not think (because she was being recruited) that she needed to send thank you emails reiterating her qualifications and interest in the job after meeting several people at the firm, including the chairman of the board! Follow-up matters.

And it is management’s job to on-board employees in an intentional way. Another client had a new employee all lined up and ready to go. The Friday before her Monday start date, she sent an email saying she was taking another job. My client was blown away! Another thing that has not changed is that companies need to balance between getting new employees excited about their company/job AND helping them appreciate the commitment they are making to the company if they join. Understanding the “why” matters.

#WiseWords

You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream. You’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.

Diana Ross, singer and actress

Worth the Share

When I was a hiring manager, I made it known that I would not put forth a counteroffer if someone on my team came to me with another job offer. They would say something like: “I’m not looking, but I did get a good offer from X and they are _______ (paying more money, giving me a bigger title etc.). I really want to stay here though, how can we make that work?”

IMHO, if they had the offer in hand, they were as good as gone. Since the employee had spent their time and energy talking with another company and had an offer – go!

This article from HBR is more nuanced than my inflexible approach, and gives food for thought. These days, with millions of people resigning from jobs, being more nuanced has value. The author makes three key points:

  1. A counteroffer may not address underlying issues
  2. A counteroffer may sow doubts in your leadership style
  3. A counteroffer may negatively affect team morale


The article, written by Mita Mallick wraps up with these thoughts: “Remember that during the Great Resignation, talent will continue to reassess their employment opportunities. The counteroffer isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to stopping good employees from leaving your organization. If people are ready to move on, sometimes the best decision may be just to wish them well in their next opportunity.”

Read on to learn more.

And Finally...

Focusing on creating a great place to work is the most effective and efficient way to manage talent. Some employees will stay for years and others will move on, that is okay. Put effort into understanding what matters to your team members. They are all individuals, treat them as such.


Help them understand the company’s “why” 
and their own “why”, provide learning and development opportunities, listen to their ideas, coach them to help them grow and remember to have fun. Laughter matters!

Have a great couple of weeks,
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

Has it changed?

Has it changed?

With all the technology, tools and social media available to job candidates, has the job search process really changed? Yes and no.

I’m coaching some MBA students and others who are actively searching for jobs, and it surprises me that the process – with all the technology at our fingertips – is still about networking, relationships and connections.

Less than 10% of jobs are gotten through recruiters and while job sites like aggregator Indeed provide a lot of information about available jobs, networking is still critically important. “Networking is vital for those who want to move up in their career. According to HubSpot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking. In fact, according to CNBC, 70% of jobs are never published publicly,” according to ApolloTechnical.

One of the biggest mistakes that young people make is that they confuse meeting people with building relationships. It is the relationships that you develop along the way that matter most.

#WiseWords

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.

Norman Vincent Peale

Worth the Share

This article talks about nine simple things to help you through your job search. From Do More (tip 1), to Keep Positive People in Your Life (tip 6), the tips are pretty basic and yet quite helpful for those who are in the stressed out as they search for a new job. Expand Your Targets (tip 2) and Switch Up Your Techniques (tip 3) are solid suggestions.

Two things that are not mentioned that I always recommend to job seekers:

  • Lean into your strengths. What are you really good at and how do you share those strengths during an interview?
  • Make an extra effort to prepare for each and every interview, personalize your responses so that it is clear you did the work. Understand that this journey is a marathon not a sprint and Take Care of Yourself (tip 9). Read on to learn more.
And Finally...

Okay, here is another tip. USE TECHNOLOGY! Whether you use JobScan or another resume comparison tool, make sure your resume is bot friendly, or update your LinkedIn Profile (can you please get a proper head shot?), invest the time to use the many tools that are available.

Here’s another tip: if you are looking, take advantage of the free month that LinkedIn offers for their premium service. You will be able to easily learn who is looking at your profile to follow-up with them directly, and connect directly with hiring managers.

Have a great couple of weeks,
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 forgotten?

Have you forgotten?

When was the last time you walked into a room to get something and forgot what you went in there to get? Recently, Elizabeth Bernstein wrote an article about memory for the WSJ, and reports that “short term, and goes on to report that “short, temporary instances of forgetfulness are happening to more of us these days” according to memory experts. Why?

We are experiencing a tremendous amount of change in our world, chronic and cumulative stress is not helping either. As one expert said: “our brains are like computers with too many tabs open right now. This slows down our processing power, and memory is one of the areas that falters.”

The advice? 1. Don’t force yourself to remember, it has the opposite effect. 2. Stop multitasking, you need to commit it to memory in the first place. 3. Help your brain calm, take a walk or meditate. 4. Be socially present, it is such a gift we give others.

#WiseWords

Forgetting happens. If you stress about it, it’ll happen even more.

Lisa Genova, author

Worth the Share

Did you know that your smart phone could be one of the culprits that is robbing you of your memory? How can that be? We all rely on those devices and in fact, on average, look at our smart phones 58 times a day.

This article talks about the importance of sharpening our memory and presents a valid business case for doing so. Our memories are critical for us to build relationships and remember those details about our clients and colleagues that really matter to them and make people feel heard.

Take a minute to read: How to Build a Stronger Memory and maybe try the suggestions offered by the author, Philip White. You will be glad you did.

And Finally...

Speaking of advice, I learn so much from my clients. The other day, I had the privilege of giving a brief talk at an awards luncheon, and spoke about five things I have learned that encourage us to live our best lives:

1. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
2. Give yourself grace. Perfect is the enemy.
3. Have a sense of curiosity and wonder, it opens everything up.
4. Laugh … a lot. It releases several good hormones that make you feel like you are exercising, meditating and having sex all at the same time (I’m serious!).
5. Give back to others at home and it your community, it will make a huge difference in your life.

What do you want more of this week?

Have a great couple of weeks,
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 to stop burnout

How to stop burnout

Burnout is on my mind. One of my long time clients is an amazing writer, speaker, and workshop facilitator. Recently she started coaching programs on burnout, and quickly learned that it is not her thing. Her insight… “Burnout happens in part because of bad managers. Management is more art than science.”

I think that is absolutely true. Smart leaders know that developing new and mid-level managers is critical to the success of the business. I remember years ago, when I was in a leadership role at Working Mother which published an annual list of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. Renowned companies like Deloitte, IBM, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever were on the list. However, women at these very same companies made it crystal clear to me that even their companies had bad managers.

As leaders, invest in your new and mid-level managers and weed out the bad ones. Not everyone is cut out for management!

#WiseWords

Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.

Paul Hawken, author

Worth the Share

Burnout is a real issue, as is sheer exhaustion from all that is happening in the world. This well-researched article “Joy as Antidote to Burnout” includes a variety of stats and quotes to support the power of joy and the importance of connecting with others.

Shawn Achor, who is known for his work in happiness, “found that when our brains are in a positive state, we’re 31% more productive than when we’re negative or stressed.” That is an impressive stat.

Plus, the impact on work is real. This quote by Toby Haug from SAP brings to life the importance of living a whole life. “Many people still think we have work on one hand and life on the other. Yet we have one life, where work is a major part. If we’re not well and happy, that will affect both home and work.”

Take a few minutes and read this article from Thrive, then find some joy and share it with others.

And Finally...

Years back, a friend from grammar school was cleaning up her mom’s bedroom after she had passed on to the next life. My friend “Catherine” found a slip of paper between the mattress and the box-spring. Written in her mother’s beautiful penmanship were three simple words, “LIVE LIFE JOYFULLY”.

This women, like most of us, faced hardship in her lifetime, and yet, her guiding light was to be joyful. I love her intentionality around the choice she made to be joyful… and that slip of paper demonstrated it’s importance in her daily life. I will always remember Mrs. L’s smiling her big Irish smile in spite of so many challenges. Can you make the choice to “Live Life Joyfully”? .

Have a great couple of weeks,
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 is your purpose today?

What is your purpose today?

One of the things I love about my role as an Executive Coach is that I coach a variety of professionals – senior leaders, entrepreneurs, C-Suite execs, mid-level managers, and even a few people under 25. “Variety is the spice of life”, or so I have heard. As a result, I feel very plugged into what professionals are experiencing right now.

These days, as the Covid pandemic shifts to this new phase of being endemic, many of us realize that along with all of this change, we as individuals have changed. One of my clients no longer has tolerance for an unhealthy work environment, another cherishes her time working remotely and no longer commuting, and still another is re-evaluating how far up the corporate ladder she wants to climb, or maybe she wants to stop climbing all together. For some, money no longer is the end goal but having a life worth living is.

What does this mean for each of us individually, for our families and for our  companies who are trying to hire people like us?

#WiseWords

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity..

Albert Einstein

Worth the Share

This short article from HBR tackles the topic of how the pandemic has changed us all, and the importance of redefining our purpose. It is well worth reading.

John Coleman, the author, highlights four areas to think about as we reset our lives post Covid:

  1. Identify what is permanent: what are your major sources of purpose today?
  2. Reject stagnation: what in your life do you want to reinvent?
  3. Learn to let go: move forward, don’t just run from your current situation.
  4. Embrace others: we all lived through this pandemic, reach out to others.

If you are struggling as we move through this period, reach out to friends, family, or professionals to keep growing and living your best life.

And Finally...

“Being intentional” is one of my favorite phrases. It gives us a chance to take a breath, think about what is the best thing to do in the moment, and ponder what matters.

When coaching a new client this afternoon about leadership, he was singularly focused on telling his team what to do, making sure everything was done exactly the way he wanted it done. Well guess what? That type of leadership style does not work for everyone.

When my client took a step back and thought about what he could do differently, being intentional moved to the top of the list. What he says, the words he uses, how he guides his team and why it helps to understand what motivates his team members are all things to consider. Be intentional.

Have a great couple of weeks,
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