Who Wants the Truth?

Recent requests:

  • A Manager is preparing his team for unprecedented growth. He wants them to be ready for it immediately. Can this be accomplished in a half-day retreat?
  • A Director can’t do it all. She can’t seem to delegate responsibilities, wants to avoid pain and risk, and must develop her staff while also freeing up her time. Can this be accomplished in one meeting?
  • A Vice President wants people to go through training and must see the evidence of the transformation in people’s on-the-job behaviors. What is the maximum number of people that can go through training at one time? Can it be accomplished in 90 minutes?
  • A CEO is making a major presentation to the industry media and wants professional polish and hopes to experience rousing applause and a high level of interest. Can I review his materials online and send him a critique with suggestions?
  • An Entrepreneur is pitching to potential investors and the goal is to generate cash flow and excitement. Can we meet over coffee, so I can hear the key points and then offer improvement feedback?

I’m delighted that these folks want to engage my services. They want to achieve their goals. They just don’t want to simply engagement my services …. they want our work together to be fast, pain free, easy, inexpensive and brilliant.

What they really want is a not-so secret weapon I’ve been known to bring with me to keynote presentations, training programs and one-on-one sessions. It has appeared with me in magazines; I keep a supply in my office, and know where I can get more if I run short. It’s Magical Pixie Dust.

I also have a magic wand that I wave. I possess bags of the glittery material and when I pull them from my briefcase there is usually a giggle of recognition and relief. People admit that this is why I’ve been called in to help.

I’ll confess that pixie dust gets all over everything. In fact, it sticks to almost any surface like super glue. It’s almost impossible to vacuum up. There is something else about it that I’ll share with you — it simply doesn’t work. I’m not Tinker Bell and my pixie dust doesn’t help you fly.

I know that this is what people really want.  I then become the bearer of bad news and a disappointing truth. In a world where information is a mouse click away, the expectation out there is that behavior change can happen as quickly. People want the pill that makes them better, a real life half-hour makeover show that changes the dump into a palace and the loser into a champion. A big part of my job is helping people understand how behavior change actually takes place.

Ouch!!
The truth often hurts!  Learning new information, motivating people, and getting them to practice new behaviors (with feedback about performance and possible corrective action) takes time. And practice. And feedback.

Not everyone wants to learn new things. Many people are a real challenge to motivate, and some people will never be as skilled as they (or we) would like. There are folks who say they will try and work at improving their skills but they won’t. It’s not important enough to them, it seems to be too hard, takes too long, or is too uncomfortable.

Some people might be able to improve but they don’t. It’s also possible that they can’t improve. They give it a half-hearted try, get distracted, or think adequate performance is good enough.

 Return on Investment Attenuates Over Time
When I work with clients to accomplish behavior change (whether it is for skill improvement or the creation of strategies) their interest and enthusiasm grows and often peaks at the end of our time together.  Afterwards, they stay excited, focused and optimistic, for day, weeks or months thereafter.

But then, the phone, the boss, deadlines, the in-box, and the real back-on-the-job world attack. My client postpones for the present his/her resolve to apply the principles we worked on together.  Without ongoing reinforcement, performance feedback, one-on-one sessions, clinics, and reinforcement, what is left is the residual ROI. If the goal is to maximize this residual ROI, it makes sense to have a realistic picture of how hard behavior change is and how long it will take. For true goal achievement, performance improvement and behavior change  people need to practice, receive feedback, make adjustments, and have someone ‘hold their feet to the fire’ in order to truly change behavior and have that change stick.

People rarely change radically as a result of going to a training program, attending one consulting session, or watching a presentation. Instead, they display small increases in effectiveness. With ongoing support, these small increases result in effectiveness. And it’s that increased effectiveness is skills that trickle down to the bottom line.

I have to confess to prospective clients that miraculous conversions don’t result from working with me for one session. It comes from the harder work of keeping at it. The payoff comes from applying new information or practicing a new skill in a regular way – and that is where my efforts in reinforcement and ongoing support make the real magic happen.

I want magical pixie dust too. I still hope that my IT guru will fix my technology challenges immediately and over the phone (which I’ve seen him do!).  I’d prefer that my weight loss goal be accomplished by the end of the week. And it would be great if I could know all about a new management trend without doing any reading or research.

A more realistic view and the consistent application of your strategy or skill is the magic that creates improved performance and goal attainment. No pixie dust required!

 

Posted in Change, Communication, Consulting, Employee Development, Feedback, Guided Execution 1:1, Mangement, Motivation, Skills, Support, Training | Comments Off on Who Wants the Truth?

After I’m Gone

Loss and death are part of the human experience. Authors have written wonderful prose about the impact of a person on their life or the influence that grief and sadness had on them.  There are movies that reveal the eloquence and poise of those who speak at funerals that are rarely seen in our real non-movie lives. Poets are often quoted or songs are played and we marvel at how lyrical and moving it seems.

Some see the death on another as a wake-up call for their own life: life is short. Don’t waste a moment. Do what you want, say what you want, and live the way you want. There is no day but today. Live a life of intention.

The other day I had a sobering thought: what will people say about me when I am gone?

While I know that this is out of my control, I found myself thinking about what I was doing with my time and how that translated into what people saw, and what they thought about what they saw.

I’m not suggesting that you should live your life with what others think always at the forefront of your mind. In fact, I often advocate the notion that you should do what is right for you. Don’t worry so much about what others are doing or saying about what you are doing. But when it’s all said and done –what might they say? And what does that have to do with organizations, managers, and employees?

Everyone believes they see the world with great accuracy. It helps us get around and function if we think we are right about most things. If we didn’t, we’d be second guessing ourselves, doubting even the most basic of observations, and many of us would simply refuse to leave the house! So we go off into the world with what we think is a pretty good understanding of who we are and who others are.

Our understanding of others is based on what we observe and what we hear. Our experience allows us to create a picture of not who they are, but who they are as we experience them. This explains why you might loath someone I adore.

Our understanding of ourselves is based on a history too, but it’s an internal history based on our thoughts and feelings. These tend to be subjective (rather than objective) and can explain why being late doesn’t bother you while it drives me up a wall.

Imagine everyone that populates your life: family, friends, colleagues, customers, neighbors, the boss, the vendors  – it can be quite a crowd. Now imagine that TIME magazine interviewed them for a special issue after you were gone.

What do you think they would say about you? Does your self-perception match what others think? What did you mean to them? How did you impact them? What have they lost now that you are no longer around? What will they remember most about your interactions?

What’s your reaction to this mental exercise? If you are less than thrilled with the outcome, it allows you to figure out what you have to do to get from where things are now to where you want them to be. You’re reading this – so you are still here!  Those who are still here have the capacity to change things to affect the future. In workshops, I help managers and employees create or improve an existing vision for their organization. Defining or re-calibrating the mental picture of your future can shift what people do on a daily basis.

Not every shift needs to be major. You may only need to call more often, smile more often, or write a thank you note more often. Maybe you only have to make eye contact, put away the phone or keyboard, and listen.  If that’s what it took to shift the outcome to something closer to what you hope for, why wouldn’t you do it?

I read that Robin Williams had a rider as part of his performance contract that specified that anyone who hired him had to also agree to hire a specific number of homeless people for the event or movie. It changed the writer’s view of him profoundly. When I read about it, it changed mine as well.

I realize that this is one of the lessons that Dickens intended when he wrote “A Christmas Carol.” After Scrooge has viewed his present and future, he realizes that it isn’t too late to change the outcome of his life by changing the way he lives. His vow to ‘keep Christmas in his heart every day of the year’ changes not just him, but those around him as well.

I refer to this phenomenon as ‘synthetic learning.’ This is what happens when you learn not from your own experience, but from seeing, hearing, or reading about something that has happened to someone else. When that learning is integrated into your behavior, it can change what you do. And that’s what makes a difference to others.

And that impact can last long after you’re gone

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I’ve Fallen – And No One Looks Up!

I was walking along a familiar and crowded route recently when I fell. I can’t tell you why I thought there was one more step though I could easily blame it on my glasses. I usually wear contacts but opted for my trifocals instead. I was not listening to music, gazing at a smartphone screen or talking to the person I was with. I was just walking.

And then I wasn’t.  I was on the ground.

Two people rushed immediately to my aid and helped me get back on my feet. I assured them I was fine. I could feel my knee begin to swell and my arm and hand throb a bit, but no skin or bones had been broken. No clothing ripped.

I looked at the people I had fallen down next to; they were totally focused on their smartphone screens. They did not look up as I fell, after I fell, or when I was helped back up. (And in case you are wondering – these folks did not appear to me to be in their 20’s. )

One study reports that the average person checks their device an average of 85 times a day, spending a total of five hours surfing the internet and using APPs.  That is almost a third of the time a person spends awake! Another study found that people were on their phone are almost twice as much as they thought they were! And a third study reports that people check their phones every 6 1/2 minutes – which roughly translates into 150 times a day!

It may be that NOT looking at the smartphone screen actually can create feelings of anxiety. If we are stressed out both because of technology and because we are not plugged in to technology, we are caught in a no-win situation. With the distraction of having the constant connection to social media, email, texts, and news, people can gain a short term comfort. No need to feel anxious because you are never really alone — unless there is anxiety due to the fear of missing out on something that might be going on without you.

Are you afraid to leave the house without your phone? There is a term for this: nomophobia! It means no mobile phone phobia.  For hundreds of years we have managed to connect with others face-to-face.  Now we seem unable to enjoy life in the moment without sharing with others that we are enjoying life in the moment.

Isn’t that what the practice of mindfulness is all about? It is the habit of paying attention  in a focused way. With purpose, you are in the moment. When you are doing something you are focused on doing that one thing.

So if you are sitting and someone falls near you, you can notice and help them up.

Or maybe next time I’ll aim to fall ON them instead!

 

 

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Can You Disagree Without Being Disagreeable?

Can you disagree with someone and not come to blows? Not raise your voice? Not think they are stupid? Avoid having them think that you are stupid?

We seem to be ready to go to opposite corners these days. Managing conflict well requires a set of skills. How the issue is handled is often more critical than the issue itself. Learning how to speak your mind requires a clear set of some rules of engagement. No hitting, no spitting, no threats of bodily harm! You don’t have to pick up your ‘bat and ball’ and vow never to return. We all can manage friction better with some clear guidelines.

Pick the Hill: You don’t have to jump into the ring every time you get annoyed or irritated. If the issue is one that really matters you should definitely speak up.

Get Clarity: Sometimes it’s important to get clarity on what the real issue is for the other person so ask to be sure. They may be annoyed that you are late but the issue is really that they don’t feel that you respect them (because if you did, you’d be on time.)

Sip the Soup, Cool the Soup: Inhaling and exhaling is a good way to take a beat and calm down. When things get emotional, conversations can get tense.

Own It: Talk about your own feelings, thoughts and opinions. Your side of things can be about your reaction rather than their action.

Don’t Take It Personally: During disagreement, it can feel like the other person is saying negative things about you. Try to keep the conversation focused on the issue, not the person.

Use Facts: If you have the facts, name your source. We can come to different conclusions about the facts, but facts don’t have versions.

Get Off Stage: Disagreements with an audience can be embarrassing. Onlookers can create a situation where the conversation can escalate or embarrass. Go somewhere where you have privacy.

Common Ground: Where there is common ground, there is a foundation to build on. Find a reason to build something.

Aim to Hear & Be Heard:  It may be that the conversation ends in détente. It’s more important to focus on mutual understanding.

Words Matter: Watch the language you use. Absolute statements (always, never) can put someone on the defensive.

When you don’t agree the conversation doesn’t need to become harsh. Agree partially (I agree with you to a point but –). Soften the disagreement (I’m sorry, I can’t agree with that.) Employ a general doubt (I don’t know if that makes sense.) Avoid the negative (I don’t think that I can agree with you).

Get better at speaking up and you’ll be able to turn conflict into conversation.

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Succeed with the Boss

Once upon a time (also known as the ‘old days’), companies operated from the top down. The boss told you what to do and you did it. Today, professionals are encouraged to show initiative and many don’t wait for the boss to make a decision or provide direction. With the pressures and constraints the boss is working with in our ‘get  done more with less’ workplace, workers need to work together with their boss, not simply for their boss.

What that requires from employees at every level is a skill set that allows them to manage the boss effectively. Effective communication is an essential part of managing another person. It doesn’t matter whether you are managing down, laterally, or up, and your organizational level won’t matter that much either. Managing a boss requires understanding the world in which they operate, their needs as an individual, their strengths and weaknesses, and the pressures and constraints they deal with on the job.

I provide one-on-one consulting with people who are work with a boss they find especially challenging. One client told me that in 25 years of work, they had never encountered this situation before. My response was “And now you have.” No matter how long you’ve been a professional, how old you are, or how varied you life experiences – there can be times when a new person or situation encountered can create a hurdle. It can be frustrating. It can even create anger, fear, or resentment. But wishing for things (them!) to be different is a poor strategy won’t create a satisfactory solution.

Some ideas about how can you develop this essential skill set and manage your boss more successfully:

  • Spend some time observing the boss. What do they well? What areas are they weak in?
    Then: Anticipate the weak areas so that they do not cause you a problem. If they are terrible at meeting deadlines, start asking for what you need earlier than when you actually need it.
  • Talk with your boss about goals. Learn about their priorities. Ask them to identify the critical issues in the department.
    Then: Ask how you can help the team with those things.
  • If your boss (or you) telecommute or spend a fair amount of time out of the office, you have less time for your relationship and more time for work. Your boss may have a lot of priorities and you are only a small piece of them. Make sure you have a regular time to connect.
    Then: Always have an agenda for your regular time together so you are getting information you need to have, not just receiving information.
  • Figure out your boss’s style, pace, energy and likes. Are they a morning person? Do they like reports, emails, voice mails or meetings? Are they fast paced or slow and methodical?
    Then: Match their energy. Every time you do, you are creating rapport.

To manage a boss successfully, the first step is to stop hoping for them to be a different person.

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Battle Better

I’ve seen an uptick in requests for training programs on how to have difficult conversation or manage conflict well. These topics have always been offered because they are a basic interpersonal skill that is called on for more in the workplace.

Unless you work with people who were raised exactly as you were raised, went to your school, and had the same financial advantages or disadvantages you did – there are going to be areas where you think differently and have different perspectives and ideas. That can lead to friction.

And that’s not even considering our current political times.

Can you increase your ability to be tolerant? By definition, tolerance requires difference so could you be more tolerant of those who don’t agree with you? If you vehemently oppose those who differ from you, you want to suppress them but if you tolerate them, you don’t try to.  And if you want to govie up on the whole thing – you might just work to avoid them. Not so easy to do at work

In the workplace politics, religion, and lifestyle choices are NOT topics that get the product or service out the door. But there are times when friction not only can’t be avoided, it needs to be dealt with effectively in order to get through it and on to the business at hand.

There are things we can do to reduce the vitriol and volume:

  • Why are you having the conversation? If there is no supportive purpose – beware.
  • Yelling doesn’t make the words any different. Aim for keeping the volume down and the tone civil.  Model the way you want others to speak to you no matter how the other person is talking. Civility and respect count for a lot.
  • State your view on the topic or issue. Don’t make it about the other person. If it’s your opinion, own it. If it’s how you heard it or interpreted it – say so.   Try using phrases like “I think,” I’d prefer,” or I’d like.”
  • Forget about selling your point of view. It is unlikely that any one is going to buy it. Don’t assume the other person will see or understand your point of view. Instead, aim to make it a learning conversation where you are asking questions to understand how they think the way that they do. You don’t have to agree but you can understand.
  • Forget about right and wrong. Binary choices create a win-lose proposition. Instead, think about what you hope to accomplish and move forward with a goal in mind.

You can be gracious and agree to disagree. You can be open and mention that you now have some new things to think about. If things get too difficult, you can take a break and go get a drink of water.

Always give yourself permission to end the interaction if you are feeling beaten up or disrespected. You don’t have to let friction or difficult conversations stop you from working well with others.

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LOL: An Essential Skill

Do you have a good sense of humor? Most people think they do.

But if you are feeling more stressed than usual these days, you may have to reexamine your answer.

Having a good sense of humor definitely helps cope with stress and can lead to overall improved heath. The actual act of laughing is an exhale, releasing your breath and the tension you may be holding on to. Sharing humor can be a bonding experience, connecting you with others and reducing the feeling of isolation. Joining others in finding humor in situations is a way to normalize your experience and can help stop the feeling of being overwhelmed by stressful things.

If you are feeling overly stressed, it’s NOT a good time to revisit Schindler’s List or spend too much time on social media if your feeds are full of news, opinion, and media feeds. However, just avoiding things that can amplify your stress isn’t enough. There are things you can DO that will improve you ‘stress-hardiness.’

Check the mirror. Are you smiling? While many people think their resting face in a smile, there are studies that reveal that the breakdown is 1/3 of the population smiles when at rest, 1/3 have a neutral expression, and 1/3 of us frown! So check the mirror and no matter what you see in the reflection, smile. Even if it feels phony, the benefits aren’t! Sometimes, a fake smile leads to a genuine smile.

Step back. Your perspective may be too close. There is a maxim in comedy that while it’s not funny when YOU slip on a banana peel, it is pretty funny when you see someone else slip on a banana peel. It’s not funny to you because you are too close to the situation. When you view things from a different (and more removed) perspective or give things some time, the situation can feel less catastrophic.

Reach out. Spend time with people who make you laugh. Sharing frustrations and worry with the goal of finding the humor in the situation (rather than seeking a solution) can lighten the mood. It also serves as a good reminder that you are not alone. If you can turn things into a game, you shift the focus (How many times in 24 hours does your social media feed have a kitten picture? A SNL mention? Use the word nuclear?)

Tee up a screen. Watch the movies, TV shows or video clips that make you laugh. If you have fond memories of laughing at Monty Python or Mel Brooks films; if you still keep up with The Simpsons, or can spend too much time on YouTube watching people do dumb things or puppies try to learn how to cope in the world, make a concerted effort to do that more often.

Don’t isolate. Invite others to join you on your quest for more daily joy. Sharing laughter can help you but it can also help others – which in turn helps you!

It may be a little harder to find a funny focus right now, but you can do something about that. If you don’t think that’s possible right now, reach out to a friend who makes you laugh and make plans to get together. Then show up with your clothes on inside out.

That should provide you with a good conversation starter.

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Energy and Focus: Where It Went and How to Get it Back

I’ve noticed that folks are having a challenging time keeping a focus on work.

Not only has the workplace become a more demanding and complex place, there has been an increase in consumer/client expectations. The results are that the workplace is more multifaceted, changing, and faster paced than ever before.

Add to that the pull of technology and social media. Since the November 2016 election and the January 20, 2017 inauguration, there has been a flood of updates, news, reactions and commentary.

People who are achievement oriented and responsible by nature have a solution to the increasingly demanding work place: work longer hours. This solution allows people to maintain a feeling of control. You may figure “If I work on Sunday afternoon and get all my reports done I can hit Monday morning ahead of the game.”

And also rarely exercise, neglect family and friends, eat lunch at the desk every day and logged into the workplace intranet after dinner each night to fit in an extra couple of hours work. Or cram it all in, finding it harder to oversee all of the details, because there is no relaxing/sleeping.  This is a short term, band aid solution and comes at a great personal cost.

More with Less? Physics Says it’s Unlikely
Many see no alternative solution. Viewing the problem as one to be measured by quantity, because there is simply too much work to be done in one day.

What about delegating some of these tasks? That’s not always an easy answer with cutbacks on staffing AND staff already overloaded.

Another difficulty may be working in a culture that is reinforcing the ‘working longer hours syndrome.’

Many hours = “badge of honor”/passage to further promotions.

The challenge to this is that exhausted people are not going to be super productive in the longer term. People are not machines. This is not a sustainable model.

What Can You Do?
You will need figure out your own personal and unique thresholds and tolerable tradeoffs. You can’t do more with less unless you understand what more means. This is not something that can be fixed overnight but there are definitely some actions that will work:

  • Develop Emotional Resilience – Emotional resilience is your ability to adapt, to “roll with the punches” and adjust to adversity without lasting difficulties. To some degree, it’s something you’re born with. Some people, by nature, are less upset by changes and surprises. Some of this is also related to factors that aren’t under your control such as age, gender, and exposure to trauma. It can be developed with a little effort. If you know what to do, you can become more resilient, even if you are naturally more sensitive to life’s difficulties.
  • Emotional Awareness – Understand what you are feeling and why. Knowing why you feel upset can provide valuable information about what needs to change in your life. It’s also important to do research on how to meet the challenges you face.
  • Perseverance – Be action-oriented. Trust in the process and don’t give up. Resilient people tend to view life’s difficulties as challenges and respond accordingly with action, rather than with fear, self-pity, blame or a “victim mentality.” While life can be very challenging, remind yourself that you are strong and can grow stronger and more wise as you handle life’s challenges.
  • Develop Internal Locus of Control – Resilient people believe that they’re in control of their lives, and while we can’t control our circumstances, we can control how we respond to those circumstances, and that makes a big difference in our attitudes and in the course our lives take.
  • Cultivate Optimism – Being an optimist is more than looking at the ‘glass as half full.” (Though that helps). It’s a way of viewing the world where you maximize strengths and accomplishments, and minimize weaknesses and setbacks. See the positives in most situations and believe in your own strength.
  • Support – Know the value of social support and are able to surround yourself with supportive friends and family.
  • Sense of Humor: Be able to laugh at life’s difficulties. If your sense of humor in threadbare or you don’t have much of one, spend time with people who make you laugh.
  • Perspective – Be able to learn from you mistakes (rather than deny them), see obstacles as challenges or a need to create a detour, and allow adversity to make you stronger. Find meaning in life’s challenges rather than seeing yourself as a victim.

.When you lose your focus, take a deep breath and remember to be patient with yourself and just do your best. Keep in mind: this is only a moment; not your whole life

 

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Need Talent? Ask the Right Best Questions

The New Year brings with it resolutions to make this year better in some meaningful way than last year. You many have exciting goals, challenging objectives, and positions to fill with new employees.

What should you be on the lookout for?

 

Ouch or Ahhh
A good fit should not be underestimated. You should look for someone who will fit well and add to the effectiveness of your team. Do you know what your team lacks? Someone who is a bit different can cause others to stretch but if they are too different from everyone else, it will be jarring and possibly unproductive. Know the culture and norms of both the workplace in general and your team in particular.

Do It
Can they do the job? While a resume shows people in their best light, your job as manager is to determine if they ca actually do what they say they can do. You want to verify strengths and explore areas that need development. I’ve always been a big supporter of hiring for fit and training for skill. But some skills reveal fit.

  • Have they solved problems without guidance or support? How did they do that?
  • Do they know how to create a budget? What are the steps they take for any large project implementation?

These are not things that will be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Listen to the story they tell, if they really answer what you’ve asked about, and how much detail they provide. If they talk about ‘we’ rather than ‘I,’ it may be that they were on team that handled things and they didn’t actually have the responsibility.

Stress-Hardy
How do they handle pressure? Every job comes with some stress and you want people who can rise to the occasion when things go from calm to challenging.  Asking some questions that create a bit of stress may reveal useful information.

  • Why do they think they are good at this job?
  • What do you think is the most stressful situation you’ve ever had to handle? How did you rise to the challenge? What did you learn about yourself?
  • What kinds of people were challenging for you to work with in your last job? How did you manage that?
  • What did you think of our website? What suggestion do you have for how it could be better? Not only does that put them on the spot about a suggestion for improvement, it will let you know if they’ve done some homework about your organization.

If someone tells you they don’t experience stress, they like and get along with everyone, or they think your website is perfect as it is, I’m betting that they wat to keep you from the truth. Dig deeper!

Forget finding a ‘plug & play’ employee. The person who can already do the job is NOT looking for this job/your job, they are looking for the next level of opportunity. Hire the person who wants to learn and is looking for a manager who wants to develop talent. Stop hoping for someone out there who will make your life easier by not requiring you to manage them, develop them, or foster engagement.

Ask the right best questions to find the person who will strengthen your team and then manage their development so that they can

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Are You Resolved?

Are you hoping to make resolutions for 2017 that actually come to fruition? Then I suggest you take out the list of resolutions that you made for 2016. How did you do?

I’ve read that while 50% of us actually make resolutions for the New Year, 88% of us fail at keeping them. Not encouraging data, but I know how we can do better at the kept-resolution rate.

Keeping a promise you’ve made to yourself takes discipline, a skill much like any other muscle in your body. It needs exercise and conditioning to be in shape. If you want to get better at it, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t have much will power, calling on it to suddenly be in terrific condition on January 1 may be asking too much.

Vague promises are not useful. Managing stress is fuzzy and not the same as developing the specific habit of turning the email off after 7:00 pm. While many people include eating better, losing weight, quitting smoking, cutting back on liquor intake, and having better work/life balance as goals for the coming year, creating a specific goal can make you 50% more likely to actually accomplish your resolution. Rather than focus on self-improvement you might want to focus on professional improvement and meet with employees every other week for performance management. Make the new resolution something that is important to you with a benefit that is tangible and observable.

If you want to increase the likelihood of successfully keeping your resolution, try following these simple steps:

One Not Some – Choose one thing to do differently. Stack the deck in your favor by putting all of your energy into accomplishing one key change in the coming year. Rather than disperse your energy and willpower, focusing on one major change in your life will increase your odds of success.

Build on Small Wins – When a doctor admonishes you to lose 20 pounds, you might laugh in their face. But when asked if you can lose 5 pounds, it’s a much more doable target. Start with easy victories to build on.

Share – Tell others about your resolution and enlist their help or support. It can make all the difference between failure and success. Other people can have a tremendous impact on your behavior. Sometimes, writing it down and keeping it visible can help you keep your focus on what you want to do. Seeing how you are moving toward achieving your goal can add to your overall happiness.

Rewards Matter – The goal is to keep the resolution for the year but rewarding yourself along the way can keep you motivated. While enjoying desert after losing weight seems counterproductive, a small serving of a favorite sweet won’t add back all of the weight you’ve lost. OR you could reward yourself with something that has nothing to do with calories. A massage has no calories.

Don’t stress too much if your path to success is not straight and true. Setbacks can happen.  Unforeseen circumstances make the future impossible to predict with 100% accuracy. Strong willpower is a learned skill, not a personality trait. You can get better with practice.

You’ve got a year to make your success happen. If the past is any indication, it  will be here before we know it

Posted in Change, Motivation, Planning, Skills, Support | Comments Off on Are You Resolved?