I Coach Managers

Your Emails Are Part Of Your Branding – What Are You Really Saying?

brandCan you read between the lines of your emails?

The same way the words you use when you speak are only a small part of how people receive your message, the way you choose to write your messages says a lot about you and how people will respond to you.

When you’re aware of how people FEEL when they read your words, it helps you to adjust and get better results.

Let’s look at it with the best scenario in mind, when they get an email from you (John), would most people think:

  1.  This must be important, John only writes when it’s impactful for my team or me.
    • Research shows that 80% of what companies communicate to their employees require no action (or reaction) and nothing would happen if they were never read. (What a waste of time!)
    • Make sure that you don’t label all of your messages as “URGENT”…When everything is urgent, nothing is!
  2. This could be good news, John loves writing to let me know when one of my employee has done an exceptional job.
    • If you only write to complain, chances are the person receiving your comments won’t be in a hurry to read what you have to say.
    • And if you do have to write to complain, make sure you always do it in a respectful way, keeping the focus on a solution and making sure you acknowledge your responsibility in a bad situation.
  3. This message could be read right now, even if I only have a few minutes, John really knows how to write in a concise manner.
    • If you do this right, the reader should be able to figure out at a glance what needs to be done.
  4. This message won’t be boring, let’s see what John has to say.
    • Make sure your short email is punctuated with a lot of bold characters and enough space between paragraphs.
    • And don’t forget your basic PLEASE and THANK YOU, they’re never out of style!
  5. This message could be exactly what I need to read right now, John has a way to introduce a positive twist to any situation.
    • Instead of complaining, try suggesting a better way, offering assistance and assuring the full collaboration of your team.
    • If you know that your colleague is going through a rough time, try offering your help or just invite him or her to lunch so you can help him or her see the situation from a different perspective. Just listen…what a gift!

As a leader, you set the tone! People will adjust according to your style!

If you want to receive concise, respectful and “to the point” emails, make sure that’s what YOU do. Since this is also part of your Personal Branding, it’s important that you take the time to make sure that WHAT you write, and HOW your write, reflects your values.

So what do you think people say when they receive an email from you? What could you improve? Let me know in the Comments section. We could all benefit from your ideas.

5 Tips To Better Sell Your Ideas As Managers

salesWe often forget that as managers we always have to sell. We aren’t classified as being salesmen, saleswomen, yet we have to communicate the mission to our employees with passion, announce our decisions to customers with tact, and persuade our colleagues to adhere to our ideas with conviction. That’s why I always pay attention to the latest sales techniques. Here are a few that will be useful to you.

Before you jump into an interaction that requires you to sell your ideas, make sure you reflect upon the following points:

  1. What exactly are you proposing? Can you state it in one sentence? Is it clear and simple to understand?
  2. Why should they say “YES” to your proposal? How will they benefit from it? What problems will they be solving? Why should they change “NOW”? Why would they be proud? Will they be happier? Are you able to accurately describe what their success will look like if they do what you’re telling them to do?
  3. Why should they believe you? Are you yourself convinced and excited about what you’re suggesting? What is it that makes YOU the right person to present this idea? What could you say to show your authenticity? Why should they trust you? What proofs to you have that it will work?
  4. Do they have everything they need to be able to accomplish what you’re asking from them? Are they trained properly? Do they have the necessary knowledge? The time it will take for every step? The detailed procedures?
  5. Are you prepared to adjust your proposition if needed? How will you react to new information or valid objections? Can you be flexible in order to keep your credibility?

Take the time you need to prepare your “Sales Pitch”, and never forget that a confused mind will say “NO” to your proposition.

Stay concise, enthusiastic and genuine.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.” - Dale Carnegie

When was the last time you had to sell your idea? How did it go? Do you think that preparing yourself better would help you be a more effective manager/negotiator/vendor? Please leave me a reply in the comments section.

What If Becoming A Better Boss Instantly Made You A Better “Lover”?

coupleMany clients have told me that part of working to improve their Emotional Intelligence for work, has had unexpected benefits at home. By examining closely the objectives that these specific clients had chosen to work at, I’ve realized that, as a matter of fact, there is a strong correlation between a Good Manager and a Good Life Partner. Isn’t that a great motivational factor to invest some of your precious time to improve your competency as a boss?

Here are 7 specific skills that are transferable from your professional life to your personal one:

  1. Learn to be a good listener
    • Do you set aside time to listen?
    • Can you make the person talking to you, feel like he or she is the most important person in the world, at that moment in time?
    • Do you make sure that you totally understand what the other person is trying to communicate?
    • Are you able to not interrupt, stay open-minded and non-judgmental, to demonstrate your respect for the person you’re speaking with?
    • Who would want of a life partner that’s never available or that doesn’t respect the other?
  2. Develop your sense of humour and adventure
    • Do you often surprise people around you or are you very predictable?
    • Do we have fun working with you?
    • Are you able to show your appreciation in different fun ways?
    • Who would want of a boring relationship, with someone that takes himself or herself too seriously?
  3. Learn to share the power
    • Are you open to other people’s ideas?
    • Do you seek their opinion?
    • Do you easily choose their proposition?
    • Do you trust people?
    • Can they trust you?
    • How to you react to opposition?
    • Are you a good colleague? As a member of a couple or a family, you have to know the basic rules for a good working team.
    • Who would want of a life partner that takes all the decisions, without any consultation and without taking the other person’s preferences into consideration? 
  4. Be interested in others, learn more about them
    • Do you tend to respect the personality of others around you?
    • Do you know about the dreams and aspirations of the people you work with?
    • Do you know how you could assist them in achieving their goal?
    • Are you able to pick up on a change of mood in one of your peers?
    • Who want of a partner that couldn’t care less?
  5. Learn to better communicate
    • Can you calmly express what you feel?
    • Do you make sure that you were clear in doing so?
    • Who would want of a partner that keeps everything bottled up or that explodes without warning?
  6. Encourage people, see the potential
    • Can you easily identify the strengths in others, or are you better at noticing their flaws?
    • Is it normal for you to celebrate successes?
    • Are you a positive person to be around?
    • After a discussion with you, does a person come out being confident and full of energy?
    • Who would want to share their life with a negative person that can only see the possibility of failure?
  7. Have goals, be ambitious
    • Are you constantly trying to improve?
    • Do you have a plan for the next few years?
    • Who would want a lifeless partner, with no energy or enthusiasm?

Aren’t the similarities surprising? So you’re getting double the benefit from working with me! Great deal!

Which aspect should you work on first? One step at a time, with a lot practice, and with the support of a good coach, you’ll be surprised how you could improve your relationships. And no, you’re not too old to change!

What do you think? Would you add something to the list? Please let me know in the Comment section below.

Are You Missing One Of These 4 Ingredients To Achieve Your Goal ?

kiliAs I was listening to the story about a man and his successful adventure to the top of Kilimanjaro, I immediately recognized, in all the emotions he described, all the necessary feelings you need to have in order to keep going, push through the hurdles and succeed, whether you’re on a mountain or at the office

Before you keep reading, think of a specific objective that you have, personally or with your team, and see if the four following ingredients are part of your strategy.

  1. You know EXACTLY what success looks like
    • The person climbing Kilimanjaro dreams of touching the famous sign. What does YOUR sign look like? How will you know that you’re there? Having a visual is very powerful…Make one up…Use your imagination!
  2. You don’t even think of all the possible hurdles
    • When telling his story, the man specified that he didn’t know that every year 6 to 8 people never come back from that trip. Even knowing that this is usually only because these people are ill prepared for the adventure, he admitted that this knowledge could have very well stopped him from attempting this feat. Don’t focus on every thing that could go wrong, just begin, you might discover that some of the steps are easier than anticipated.
  3. You have a group of people counting on you to succeed
    • At several occasions our hero felt like turning around, but the group propelled him, he couldn’t let everybody down, he couldn’t be responsible for the failure of the mission. Who else knows about your goal? Surround yourself with people that believe in your success. If it’s a team goal, make sure that they have the proper support, that you constantly remind them how each individual contributes to the team and how crucial it is to succeed.
  4. You know exactly what succeeding means for you or your team
    • Our traveler brought back a souvenir from the mountain top. He keeps it in on display, to remind himself that he possesses everything needed to face every challenge that life could throw at him. What will happen if you reach your goal? What will be the impact? How will you celebrate your victory?

We all have different summits to reach, making sure that these 4 elements are in place before you start, will multiply your chances to get to the celebration part of your journey.

So which one is missing from your current plan? Do you know of another ingredient that could keep us from quitting? Let me know in the Comment section.

 

The Biggest Obstacle To Your Personal Development

mastery curve Did you know that, when trying to integrate something new, we all have this false belief, that often prevents us to be successful? After learning about this, it became easier for me to learn or to make changes in my life. Here’s what I’ve learned about this belief…

Research shows that the problem is simple: we lack perseverance. The sad part is that we often just needed a small additional effort to achieve a break trough.

Because we’re expecting to see immediate and constant progress, in proportion to the invested effort to develop a new skill, and that we don’t feel we’re improving right from the start, we get discouraged and we give up. But progress doesn’t show up like that. It doesn’t manifest in an ascending curve, it comes in regular stages (see picture above).

What we need to remember, is that progress comes at regular intervals…a few weeks of practice, without any apparent improvement, and then suddenly a big return on your investment…a few more weeks of practice,  without new noticeable improvement, and boom, suddenly big results…

Let’s say you want to improve your listening skill. It will be necessary  for you to apply the new acquired principles, consistently and for a long period of time before you can really feel a change. If you constantly  go back to your old ways, because it’s easier and more comfortable, you will probably fail to improve.

If you really want to integrate something new in your life, the recipe is simple: consistency, patience and perseverance.

Proof that this is true: 75% of people give up on their new year’s resolutions within the first 7 days of that new year!!!

Don’t give up to fast…You might be very close to an improvement peak!

What do you think? Are you giving up to fast? Do you have other ideas to help us stick to our resolutions? Please let me know in the Comment Section.

5 Simple Questions To Plan For A Great New Year

Happy new year 20142013 is already gone… Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished during those 12 months?

Let’s find out!

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate each category:

  1. Personal development. Did you try something new? Took a training course of some kind? Did you expand your social network? Did you follow your plan as far as your career plan goes? Are you surrounded by positive people, that believe in your success and inspire you?
  2. Life balance. Were you mostly happy at work? Are you satisfied with the percentage of your time you have devoted to your work versus your family? Did you have enough fun time this year?
  3. Health. Are you in better shape than you were at the beginning of the year?
  4. Your team’s success. Are your employees happy? Are you part of a winning team? Do you have clear objectives? Is your mission exciting?
  5. Your contribution. Did you have a positive impact on your department this year? On your team? Are you happy with your personal branding? Are your colleagues looking forward to working with you still in the new year?

Now that you have the result:

  • What is missing for you to rate each category with a perfect 10?
  • What will you do differently next year?

Take the time to reflect and plan!

Have an extraordinary new year!

My wish for you is that you decide to go all in, go for excellence in managing your team, and experience the incredible satisfaction of feeling your important contribution.

Thank you to everyone that takes the time to leave a comment! I really appreciate your feedback!

3 Questions To Make Sure You Scored With Each Performance Review

confusionI write this for the brave Managers only…Those who REALLY want to know if the time for the preparation and the meetings for the Performance Review Process was a good investment. If they really met their objective…

We always read about how to prepare for Performance Reviews, which information to collect, how to conduct the meetings and even how to do a follow-up after a few months.

However, even if you carefully follow the instructions, the only way to make sure that you were successful, is to courageously ask the following 3 questions, at the end of each meeting:

  1. How do you feel?
    • We’re aiming for: pumped-up, supported, enlightened, happy to see that my contribution didn’t go unnoticed, positive, excited about our new goals…
  2. Tell me, in a few words, what stands out for you?
    • With this question, you want to verify that you successfully communicated the essential. That what’s important wasn’t lost in a mountain of empty words.
  3. What will you do differently following our conversation? What’s your action plan?
    • If the employee doesn’t change anything, improves nothing, or doesn’t come out with new objectives, the investment wasn’t really profitable.

This direct feedback will enable you to adjust your style as you go. Taking into consideration the answers you’ll get, you could choose to be more energetic and positive,  to talk less and to focus on the essential, or to validate, on an ongoing basis, the employee’s interpretation of your message.

You can adjust questions 2 and 3 to your reality, taking into consideration your objectives. Assuming that you did establish objectives before starting the process.

Question 1 however, is always appropriate. I love this quote from Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

If you don’t stop dissatisfaction, incomprehension or negativity, BEFORE they leave your office, they will rapidly spread.

Your turn to play…Will you be brave enough?

What do you think? Did you really prepare well? Did you give all the attention that this process deserves?  Are you confident enough to ask the 3 questions? Let me know in the Comment Section!

 

 

 

 

 

You Don’t Have to Do Performance Appraisals

performanceI just love this time of the year! As a coach, I can really make a big difference in the way managers perceive the task of preparing and presenting performance appraisals.

After all these years working in management, I’m still convinced that we can differentiate the good managers (leaders) from the great ones, just by how seriously they go through this process. Unless…

  • You have no interest in getting to know more about your employees, what motivates them and what they’re worried about.
  • You couldn’t care less about their ambition, and you’re convinced that they have no idea whatsoever to share with you on how to improve your results as a team.
  • You don’t care that your best employees, being disappointed because of the non recognition of their hard work, could leave.
  • You don’t care either that the employees in need of constructive feedback, will keep on making the same mistakes and face the same difficulties.
  • The performance of your team isn’t an issue, good or bad there’s no impact on your productivity and/or the quality of the service for your clients.
  • The progress of the department doesn’t matter. You’re good enough as it is!

That’s not the case…Great!

The secret to your success resides in the importance that you attribute to this exercise.

It’s not a document that HR is forcing you to fill out year after year. It’s an opportunity to stop running for a while, in order to highlight people’s contribution, to listen to them, to make the necessary adjustments and to share the objectives for the following months.

I do realize that in an ideal world we should be doing that on an ongoing basis…Raise your hand if you do…Anyone?

Let me know if you need support to go through this tough, but so important, period…It’s an investment that you’ll never regret…Guaranteed or your money back!

I would love to know how you feel about this grueling task…Let me know in the Comments Section.

5 Ways to Keep Your Good Employees

retain employeeI’m often hired to help a Manager that has an issue with a problematic employee. Once the objective is reached, I can’t help but ask: You just spent a lot of energy on this person, what about your best employee, how much time do you invest in her?

Because there’s never enough time, we spend all of our time putting out fires, and we tend to ignore what goes right and the people that work well.

And then we’re surprised that these good employees jump ship!!!

Sometimes you only need small considerations to make sure that, as you would do for your big clients, they feel valued. Try:

  • Invitation for lunch to learn about her state of mind, her ideas and to thank her for her hard work. You’ll score big points if you ask her about her accomplishments.
  • Invitation to present her idea in front of the team, to let her take all the credit, to give her the opportunity to practice her presentation skills and to learn how to defend her point of view.
  • Invitation to accompany you to an important management meeting, to clearly show that your value her input and for her personal branding.
  • Invitation to replace you for a meeting or a project, to prove that you have confidence in her and for her professional development.
  • Invitation to lead a project related to one of the team’s objectives, to give her the possibility to prove herself.

Ask yourself: How does my best employee know that she’s important to us? Which concrete and recent proofs does she have to that effect? Remember that she can’t read your mind.

The more the employee feels appreciated and the more she feels that she contributes to the team’s success, or even better to the company’s success, and the less she will feel the need to look for an external challenge.

Please don’t wait too long before you do the invitation. It’s too late too act when faced with her resignation!

Do you have other strategies that help you keep your dedicated employees? Please share them with me in the Comments Section.

 

2 Minutes To Tarnish Your Brand

mad as hell

This is a new trend in the Business World…a very bad new trend. I don’t even begin to understand how that became to be an acceptable behavior.  Make sure you haven’t adopted it, thinking that it’s no big deal…

 

You really don’t have 2 minutes to answer an email?

Recently someone was telling me: “You can always try to write to him, but you’ll be lucky if he replies. Really!!!!!!

Since when has it become acceptable to ignore somebody?

I’m not talking here about junk mail, I’m referring to emails from people that you already have a personal or professional relationship with, and that you deliberately choose to ignore.

I’m currently experiencing this new trend from a large bank, a Lawyer’s office, clients and colleagues…It’s unbelievable!

How does it feel when someone does it to you? Aren’t you thinking:

  • How do I know if my email was received?
  • Is this person so busy that he loses emails?
  • What did I do to deserve such lack of consideration?
  • How many times do I have to write before I get a reply?…

If so, why has this become such current and accepted behavior? Is it too much to ask to expect a reply within the following days? Should we expect an answer in the next few days, few weeks…never?

Protect your Personal Brand and your Companies Reputation by making sure that you are viewed as being dependable, organized and respectful of other people’s time and feelings. Understanding the impact of this bad trend on people, requires Emotional Intelligence.

  • How could you better organize your emails to make sure that everyone gets a reply?
  • How could you make sure that your clients will NEVER experience that treatment?
  • Would it be appropriate to bring this topic to your team’s attention?

My biggest wish is that you’ll think twice before you decide to ignore an email….Being very busy doesn’t excuse everything!

So what do YOU think? I would really like to read your comments and experiences. Wouldn’t you like it if the Basic Courtesy Rules would be back in style? If so, please share this post, hopefully together we could reverse the trend.