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   15 Ways to Lead Proactively

  15 Ways to Lead Proactively

In the TEDx talk that I gave, I highlighted the power of teamwork during a recounted expedition that I led deep in the Indian Himalayas. On day 24 of the mountain expedition, a client fell down one of the slopes and suffered an open fracture of his lower leg. For 19 hours while we waited for help to arrive, we fought to save the patient’s leg. I firmly believe that our team thrived during this period because of the proactive leadership our team of instructors displayed on the expedition up to that point. I was brought to tears with pride for our team once help finally did arrive in the form of a massive Indian military rescue helicopter. We had selflessly pulled together to manage the intense situation in a hostile environment.  You can use these types of situations as a learning experience. While carrying out your duties as a leader, there are a few questions to ask about your performance to determine whether you spend most of your time in a reactive or proactive role. As a leader do you… Find yourself putting out fires most of the day? Dread Mondays because you have no idea what mess you are about to walk in on? Feel like you are losing the respect of your team members? Get behind in writing or conducting performance reviews? Only think about doing a team building event when your team is not working well together or because you just haven’t done one in a while? If you answered yes to any of these questions you probably spend more leadership time in a reactionary mode...
Lessons From Flying Solo – A Travel Experience to Remember (or forget…)

Lessons From Flying Solo – A Travel Experience to Remember (or forget…)

As I prepare for Mondays much anticipate launch of the LiveMore Mastermind program, this week I wanted to lighten up the blog a little by sharing with you a recent challenging (and comical in retrospect) flying experience and a few lessons I am sure many of you can relate.  — Four weeks before Christmas we decided to bring our family of five to my hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland from Ottawa because of some extenuating family circumstances. This was not our original plan as my wife, was due to be working from December 27-30. The plan was to have the whole family fly to St. John’s on December 22nd and my wife would leave early on the evening of the 25th to give herself a day of flexibility in case there were weather delays. It was a good thing that Alexandra built in flex time as her flight was canceled and it took her 24 hours to get out of St. John’s. She arrived home at 3:30 a.m. in time to start her on-call shift at 8 a.m. That’s not exactly how you want to start four days of being on call. Once Alexandra left I would be parenting solo on our flight home scheduled for December 30th with our three girls (Aspen, 5 months; Trinity, 4; Sierra, 6). Our itinerary from St. John’s to Ottawa had us take two 2-hour flights with an hour-and-a-half stopover. We were flying in the mid-afternoon so at least it wasn’t a super early flight or a red eye. I honestly hadn’t given flying solo with the girl’s much thought until a couple days...
5 Strategies for Managing Imposter Syndrome

5 Strategies for Managing Imposter Syndrome

Several years ago I was asked to do a 3-hour seminar on leadership for a group of 12 senior executives who ran companies with revenue ranging from 10 – 100 million dollars. I was 35 at the time and their average age was 62. I had been vetted for almost 6 months from the organization who hired me to deliver the seminar to be absolutely sure I was a good fit and wouldn’t waste their precious time. I had been prepped that this group had extremely high expectations for their presenters and could be quite intimidating. Several days before the event, the organizer asked me if I was nervous about my upcoming session. My reactionary response was, “Nooo, I got this.” In actual fact, I was extremely nervous. I thought, “Who am I to present to these successful senior leaders about leadership?” I was suffering from a case of the dreaded Imposter Syndrome (IS) and it almost held me back from taking on this outstanding opportunity.  What is Imposter Syndrome? IS is an all too common feeling amongst public speakers and leaders in new positions. “It is an overriding feeling that you are not worthy of the job you have been asked to do based on your skill, experience or expertise. It is based on intense, secret feelings of fraudulence in the face of success and achievement. If you suffer from IS, you believe that you don’t deserve your success; you’re a phony who has somehow ‘gotten away with it’” (Harvey, 1984, p. 3). Syndrome may be too strong a term, but many of us experience these feelings with...
The first 90 Days! (Action Planner Included)

The first 90 Days! (Action Planner Included)

Hi folks, I am back to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and provide you with a tool to kick-start your success in 2018. I have had a productive few weeks off from writing my regular blog. I have been able to find some help to free up time and develop systems for me to be the best version of Shawn as a father, husband, business consultant and athlete. My next book manuscript is now oh-so-close to being finished and I have been developing a few very exciting projects that will launch in the New Year to bring more value to YOU, my faithful blog reader. One of the projects I will be launching is an exclusive small group Mastermind focused on accountability, personal growth, and leadership development. You will hear more about this in a few weeks. If you know you are interested in joining this type of group just send me an email at info@livemoregroup.com with “INTERESTED IN THE MASTERMIND” as the subject title and I will be sure you receive the registration information. This past week I was working on my 2018 list of goals. This is something I do every December but as I was writing them I was thinking how each year it seems harder and harder to set realistic yearly goals with the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) method of goal setting. In my current state of rapid change with family, personal and business interests and demands it is difficult to set accurate goals a year out. Too often, elements in my world change throughout the year making many of my...
Stepping Back For a Bit

Stepping Back For a Bit

I am going to stop blogging on a regular basis for the next couple months. I know I don’t need to justify my personal actions to you but I thought that by explaining them, you may learn something or look at your own life from a different perspective. In his outstanding book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, author, and real estate giant Gary Keller encourages the reader to think of work-life balance not as being balanced at all. He would rather think of your time and attention sitting on a pendulum moving back and forth. For a while, you really need to focus on one area of your life, i.e. family, and then there will be a time your family life is stable and you can really focus on another aspect, i.e. starting a new business project, training for a marathon or in my case right now, completing a book. I have been two weeks from finishing my next book since June because I haven’t made it my One Thing. My personal view of balance is an object suspended in time, not moving at all. When things aren’t moving at all, they usually get run over and besides if you are in perfect balance, you are not moving forward and for me, I always want to be moving forward. This is also the reason why Lance Armstrong called his hugely popular podcast The Forward.   This is not acceptable to me. For me to be at my best, I want to be riding the wave or at least climbing near the top of it. I may...
7 Steps to Crafting a Quality Meeting Agenda (Template Included)

7 Steps to Crafting a Quality Meeting Agenda (Template Included)

How to prevent your meeting from going off the rails The purpose of meetings is not to talk – the purpose is to arrive at ideas, solutions, plans, and decisions. Before I discuss meeting agendas, I want you to think long and hard about the next meeting you are organizing. Ask yourself these 3 questions Is this meeting absolutely needing? Is there another way to accomplish the meeting purpose? What will happen if the meeting doesn’t take place? If at all possible, cancel the meeting! We’ve all been in meetings where participants are unprepared, people veer off-track, and the topics discussed are a waste of the team’s time. These problems, and others like it, stem from poor agenda design. An effective agenda helps set you up to run a successful meeting for all participants. Last week, I had the privilege of delivering a webinar to 1000 project managers from around the world. When I asked in a poll “what is your greatest pain point in meetings”, the number one answer by far was “lack of quality agenda and direction”. At the end of the session, several of the audience questions were about creating effective agendas so I have decided to write this post to help you develop and execute an effective agenda for your next meeting. According to a study conducted by Verizon Business, meetings are the #1 time waster in the workplace. They are often unorganized, have no purpose and go off-topic and end with decisions or action items. It’s no mistake that most of these meetings are missing a clear meeting agenda. Creating a concise agenda is the...
Managing Millennials – Help Them Create BFFs at Work (activity included)

Managing Millennials – Help Them Create BFFs at Work (activity included)

Do you have a good friend at work? Chances are if you work in a team environment and enjoy your job, you work with someone you would consider a good friend. It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, humans are social animals and having work friends is important to your overall happiness Research by Gallup suggests the development of trusting relationships is a significant emotional compensation for employees in today’s marketplace. Too often, millennials are criticized for blurring the lines between work relationships and personal relationships. Given the always tuned on social media and always in pocket smart phone world that they have grown up in it increases the challenge for them to compartmentalize their relationships… and that’s a good thing. While companies often pay significant attention to satisfaction surveys, including loyalty toward the organization, the best employers recognize that loyalty also exists among employees toward one another. Based on their research, Gallup believes “The best managers in the world observe that the quality and depth of employees’ relationships is a critical component of employee loyalty.” So, how is a manager supposed to go about creating best friends forever (BFF) among their workforce? Certainly, a close friendship can never be formed from a forced experience. Most quality friendships develop organically, as people invest little-premeditated thought in the process. When you think about your close friends today, for most of them, you didn’t set out with a focus on becoming their friend. The good news is there are several things managers can do to help foster significant relationship building without making it feel contrived and forced. One...
More Important Than Goals – (Activity)

More Important Than Goals – (Activity)

“Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you would do long after the mood you said it in has left you” unknown Have you have ever had the same goal month after month, year after year? I know, there are a few that I have. Hit a sales target, achieve a promotion, lose weight, get more sleep, go on an epic vacation, run an ultramarathon etc. Why is this? If it is an important goal, why are you not achieving it? To experience growth and move forward in life your goals need to be evolving. Even if you have the same massive or BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) goal every year, i.e. win the championship, become #1 in your field, etc., your actions need to change because with our evolving world “what got you there this year won’t get you there next year”. In the rare case that you are successful and things to stay the same, there is a good chance you will end up bored, burnt out and not growing as a person. I found myself in this situation the last few years I was leading expeditions. I had been successful with running life impacting adventures and educational expeditions. I had honed a formula over the years that worked well. But this lack of evolving goals in my job eventually led me to complacency and burnout.   Contrary to popular belief, the key to goal achievement is not writing it down or telling someone, although it can help. The key really is taking action. Furthermore, it’s about making a commitment to sacrifice. I am interested in your...
How Are You Treating Your Team?

How Are You Treating Your Team?

(Quick update – After leaving England at the end of July, the Strattons spent the next 5 weeks visiting family and friends throughout Canada and are now set up in Ottawa for the foreseeable future. LiveMore HQ is now up and running and I am back to providing you with regular quality original leadership content here on my blog.) At Work, Are You Leading A Family Or A Sports Team? You often hear people refer to their work teams as a family. Is this what you really want? Have you taken a close look at your family and your feelings about each person?If you are like me, you love everyone in your family unconditionally. Through all the childhood (and adult) fights, your pet peeves with them, your differences, the advice they didn’t take, the advice they didn’t give until it was too late, and the mistakes they have made, and through all the trials and tribulations that life throws at them, I will still love them because…well, they are family. I love them and always will. With family, there is no bottom-line. A competitive sports team, on the other hand, most certainly has a bottom-line. In the past, I have written about the importance for leaders to love their team but not unconditionally. Sure, love them and also do everything in your power to have them performing at a high level to achieve your common goal but hold them to a high level of accountability at the same time. If a player on the sports team repeatedly makes mistakes, doesn’t show up on time, or calls out other players in...

Never Be Too Busy Again

(Note – this is a 2017 summer addition ‘best of the best’ blog from the past.) You’ve heard the expressions “I’m so busy,” “I’m too busy to do that,” or “I just can’t find the time …” I believe that these phrases have caused an epidemic of excuses in our society. It has become a sign of prestige to say how busy you are when someone asks, “How are things?” When was the last time you answered that question with “Things are pretty slow right now” or “Fantastic, I’m spending my time on things most important to me”? The reality is you are never too busy to do anything. You spend our time on what seems to be the most important thing to you right now. Think about the last time you told someone you were too busy to do something. I’m willing to bet you weren’t too busy at all; you just placed a lower priority on the task you were talking about than the one that was filling your time. An honest response would have been, “I’m sorry but that isn’t a high priority for me right now and I have other tasks that are more important to me taking up my time.” That brings us to the priority list. A priority list allows you to rank the importance of the tasks, which fill your time. I love writing these lists (and thinking about them even more) and ranking them so that I always know what I should be doing with my time. You are what you did today. (Tweet That) Sure, you have long-range hopes, dreams,...