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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,...
How Quality Leaders Get Out of the Way

How Quality Leaders Get Out of the Way

(Note – this is a 2017 summer addition ‘best of the best’ blog from the archive.) Leaders Prioritize – Leaders Respond Recently, a friend was in some slow moving employment contract negotiations. There was no animosity and both sides were excited that the contract was offered. After the initial flurry of emails that led to the offer, the employer became very slow to respond to emails when the fine-tuning negotiating started. The employer would send an email. My friend would respond in a few hours and then days would go by before she would hear back from them. It turns out, most of the time, the gentleman representing the employer was travelling or waiting for more information before getting back to her. Both are perfectly normal reasons for not having a decision right away but no excuse for not sending a short email, letting her know why he couldn’t provide the decision in a timely manner. In the silence, my friend was growing more and more stressed that the employer was going to back out of the contract. In reality, that was not the case at all. In the end, it all worked out but in the process, considerable time and energy, and a little respect were lost. Had the employer acknowledged the receipt of the corresponding emails and either responded with an answer or mentioned when he would get back with a proper response, the trust and respect level would have remained high while eliminating unnecessary anxiety. If he could not write a complete answer to the email in an appropriate time, a simple one-line explanation why and...
How to Make Yourself Indispensable

How to Make Yourself Indispensable

(Note – this is a 2017 summer addition ‘best of the best’ blog from the archive.) In today’s outsourcing, downsizing, volatile economy, people are more worried than ever about losing their job, no matter the position they hold. Here is one way to make it less likely you will lose your job and even if you do, this practice will greatly help you move on to your next job or a freelance career. The late, great personal development expert, Zig Zigular, famously said “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Too often, we find ourselves living in the world of ME, with constant thoughts of how is this going to help ME, what have they done for ME, and I need to cover my ass so it doesn’t affect ME. Well, I am here to tell you, you are not as important as you want to believe. So, stop worrying about ME and focus on how you can help others. By shifting your thoughts and subsequent actions to always look for a way to help others, you start making yourself indispensable. You can even learn a great deal along the way. By constantly helping those above you get what they want, they will directly see the value you offer and become an advocate for you, potentially defending your position when the next downsizing rotation comes around. You are providing them support in order to earn your way up. This is fine because you are earning it! Think of everything you do for others as an investment in your...
8 Ways to Create Pride within a Team

8 Ways to Create Pride within a Team

Before I get to this weeks post I thought I would let you know daughter #3 finally did come into this world last Sunday, July 9. Here is Aspen Stratton in her 2-day old passport photo.   (Note – this is a 2017 summer addition ‘best of the best’ blog from the archive.) When pride is present at work, it inspires individuals and teams to achieve more, communicate better, and build upon each other’s strengths. When it’s not present, it can get ugly, really ugly. Most successful teams carry a high level of pride to the work they do and whom they do it with. But as a leader, how do you create pride within a team. Surely it is not a given any time a team forms to take on a significant goal. Pride for a team or organization has to deliberately be developed and massaged by the leadership. It comes from a conscious effort and genuine love of the team and its purpose. Pride helps people enthusiastically do their job and get through hard times. I always saw that developing pride within an expedition team was an integral part of my role as an expedition leader. During the extended backcountry expeditions I led, I would be getting my clients and students to regularly push their comfort zone mentally and physically while challenging their tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. No, these moments didn’t happen every day but when they did come about I needed the team members to feel the pride in what they were trying to accomplish and who they were doing it with to launch themselves...
Update – On The Move… Again With A New Addition

Update – On The Move… Again With A New Addition

Summer is here and it is time for a short update before the summer ‘Best Of’ blog schedule kicks in next week. As I write this, my wife is 6 days overdue with our third child. It is a very exciting time and waiting is driving all of us a little nuts. She will come soon enough, when she is ready. It has been a year since I have written a short update on the life of Shawn. In my last update, we (the family) were about to leave Calgary and visit family and friends in St. John’s before moving to Oxford, England for a year. It is hard to believe our year in Oxford is just about up and we are about to be on the move again. It has been a wonderful year in England. Wanting to invest in more experiences and less stuff we have been able to travel extensively around the U.K. and a little in Ireland, mainland Europe and the Middle East. We have survived a year without owning a car and put many miles on our bikes with the kid trailer. The kids now have cute English accents and we have enjoyed making friends from around the world who are living here. We are excited to be moving back to Canada and a new city for us, Ottawa. With Alexandra’s medical training now finished we are looking to put down some roots in Ottawa and make it our home for the foreseeable future. I have many exciting business plans for the fall that will allow me to add more value to help you...
When Team ‘Storming’ Has Gone Too Far

When Team ‘Storming’ Has Gone Too Far

Working with Opposites: Focus on the Behaviour and not the Personality A couple of years ago, I wrote about managing the ‘Storming’ phase of Team Development and to-date it has been one of my most popular posts so I have decided to address the topic again. In this post I discuss how to detect that storming has gone too far, hindering productive team growth and potentially causing lasting damage. I will also discuss leading your team out of unproductive storming. [Related Post: Now, You’re Storming: Managing the Storming Phase of Team Development] If you are not familiar with psychologist Bruce Tuckman’s popular theory on the stages of group development, i.e. Forming,  Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning, please read my previous post on the topic linked above. When to Step In… The storming phase, when team members are no longer trying to just “fit in,” they are now trying to establish themselves within the group, is a natural progression that most teams go through. But can the ‘storming’ get out of control? Yes, absolutely. Like a parent with two fighting kids, there comes a time when you need to step in before someone gets really hurt. Protecting values, defending options, resisting change and struggling to establish norms are all commonplace in the storming phase. Most adult groups with an effective leader can work through these issues without too much resentment, hurt feelings and lost productivity. In fact, weathering out the storming phase with little leader intervention usually makes the team closer, stronger and more trustworthy in the end. Gone Too Far How can you tell when storming has gone too...
Why Now Might NOT Be the Best Time to Resolve a Conflict

Why Now Might NOT Be the Best Time to Resolve a Conflict

This week, I address another conflict resolution question that came from an audience member at a recent presentation. “Is it a good tactic to avoid the conflict while the things cooled down and talk about it later with a clear and open mind to others position?” I believe the person is suggesting the ‘conflict resolution’ session be ‘avoided’ until things cooled down and not the conflict should be avoided. I don’t believe any conflict should be avoided, good or bad. It should always be managed, which may involve some type of intervention if it escalates. [Related: 5 Tips to Manage the Storming Phase of Group Development] As I was attempting to facilitate the resolution of a conflict between two clients, Mike and Frank, I had on a wilderness expedition it became clear to me this was not the right time. The conflict had been brewing for a few days and was gradually escalating in intensity. Their behavior was starting to affect the whole team, making everyone feel uncomfortable when Mike and Frank were around each other. As the leader, I knew their behavior couldn’t go on if our team was going to perform at its best, which would be needed to achieve our lofty goals. I wanted to resolve the conflict so I brought the two guys together to run through a conflict resolution model (download a detailed description of the model). The first step in the exercise is the Ventilation stage, where both parties have an opportunity to vent all their frustrations by detailing the exact effect that other person’s behavior is having on them. It is important...