Monday, January 7, 2013

Deciding Who's First

Whether you are married, have children, or single and on your own, when it comes to personal matters, it’s often hard to find the right balance of taking care of your family, yourself, and ‘being there’ for other friends and loved ones. 

Your mental debate may even lead to conflict if others who learn of your choices, don’t approve.  Below are some thoughts/guidelines for managing these issues while improving your relationships with others.

1.      Be True to Yourself – Prior to making a decision, and certainly before communicating that decision to others (who may not approve), think about why that decision makes sense for you.  For example, say you are choosing to get a massage instead of helping your cousin.  What are the reasons for that decision?  Is it because you two have a difficult relationship?  Because he’s never helped you when you needed it?  Because your back is injured and the masseuse can only fit you in when your cousin needs you?  Think about the reasons for making what could be termed a “selfish” choice.  Often times “selfish” choices occur as a result of a damaged relationship, and the desire to avoid or punish the other person.

2.      Be Honest – Keeping your rationale to yourself isn’t helping.  And, it will likely build added resentment from others if it is misunderstood.  In making a choice that others can’t readily appreciate, be prepared to communicate your reasoning with those impacted by it.  (For guidelines on having those conversations see my earlier article).

3.      Know Your Priorities – Sometimes, it isn’t a selfish choice that becomes a challenge.  It’s the reverse.  Perhaps a friend wants to see you (and you them) but it means your child will have to endure a play-date with a child she doesn’t like, or be left with a babysitter you don’t feel great about.  Here your concerns are letting someone down one way or the other.  While your child may forgive you more easily, or be simpler to bribe with a toy or dessert, think about which choice makes you feel better as a person.  Worry less about how your rationale sounds to others, and more about your own conscience and what helps you to sleep well at night.  Let that feeling guide you. 

4.      Don’t Make Excuses – When communicating your choices, don’t turn them into excuses.  Explain yourself directly and with factual points, including any notes about how you might be able to compromise, or make it up to the other person, if that is what you want to do. 

5.      Hold Your Head High – This is just a reminder that if you are true to yourself, honest with others, communicate clearly, and make added efforts when reasonable, you should be able to feel good about yourself, your decisions, and your relationships with others.

State of the...Company

Every January our Commander in Chief presents a State of the Union or Inaugural Address.  Setting your own political ideologies aside, business leaders should take note of the address and the purpose behind it.  This address is a leadership strategy – one that can be implemented within any company, team, or organization.   The Inaugural Address or State of the Union inspires, explains, motivates, and builds enthusiasm for what is both desired and possible. 

Translate that to a business model, and you are offering your staff a glimpse into your views on the recent past and your goals for the coming year.  You are building a sense of unity, a feeling of pride, and a desire to give the best of oneself in those who hear your own address.  Do you acknowledge the hard times?  Yes.  Will you sometimes have to acknowledge that there may be more hard times to come?  Yes.  But you also have this forum to explain what you can/will do to lessen the impact of these hard times and to plant seeds of hope for the positive changes that are on the way.

The “State of the Company” address may be the one time each year you address your staff or team in this manner, so make it count.  Be sure to include:

1.     Gratitude for their commitment to your company, team, or organization.
2.     Recognition for their hard work and effort to reach goals.
3.     Awareness of any difficulties of the past year (or more if this is your first such address).
4.     Appreciation for the success and accomplishments of the past year (or longer).
5.     Goals and/or changes to come in the year ahead.
6.     An acknowledgement of what it will take to reach those goals (of them and you).
7.     A request for their commitment to making those goals or changes happen.
8.     Repeat of Gratitude – this time with a focus on moving forward.

Strong leadership requires communication, inspiration, a vision for the future, and a building of trust – both up the corporate ladder and down.  As you craft and deliver your “State of the Company” keep these ideals in mind.

If we can be of help in addressing these and other leadership challenges, through executive coaching, training, or other services, please contact us.