5 Ways to Defeat Complacency

 

The phrase,” it is what it is” becomes the motto for many people who allow complacency complacency-2to embed there lives and way of thinking. In fact, that phrase indicates complacency has overtaken their ability to transform their results.

Complacency is like a deadly virus dormant in your system. It is lurking to kill your goals, dreams, and success.  It has the power to rob you blind of new experience, positive change, and personal growth. The worst thing about complacency is the infected person is usually unaware that he or she is at risk.

Complacency occurs in all of us. It is present in our personal life and career. However, success is determined by your ability to effectively avoid or move away from complacency. 

To help you avoid or beat complacency, here are five ways to defeat or prevent complacency.

  1. Let Others Have Influence“Never mistake the power of influence.” – Jim Rohn. Leaders need to listen and be wise, vulnerable and courageous enough to allow others to have influence. I know what you are thinking, being vulnerable as a leader is a sign of weakness. That thinking is out of date. In fact, I believe vulnerability is a sign of strength, creativity, and openness. Vulnerability displaces complacency by ensuring we are allowing others to influence where and when we need it. Let’s face it, complacency embeds itself in the inability to think differently. Influence will enable us to consider options.
  2. Challenge the Status Quo“Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Evaluate your goals often. As complacency sets in, our ability to think differently is minimized by our inability to process anything other than what we already know. Instead of seeing the opportunity to move forward, we wait to seek permission and find ourselves passed up by great opportunities. Lolly Daskell wrote, “Challenging the status quo takes an open mind, open heart and open will.” When we fail to challenge the status quo, we allow complacency to discourage our intentions and thus weaken our ability to contribute to success.
  3. Be Curious I have no special talents, I am just passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein. What we know is all we know. Without a curious mind and curious heart, we become stagnant in our thoughts and ideas. This allows complacency to become our comfort place. John Maxwell said, “When you lack curiosity, you breed indifference.”  Indifference leads to ruts and routines and creates a complacent spirit. Curiosity, on the other hand, promotes change and adventure and a desire to always improve.  Curiosity requires wisdom and courage, just like the explorers who first set off around the globe. When you are in exploration mode, you may be moving forward or side-to-side, but you never go backward. You put yourself in a position to create influence rather than falling into the traps of complacency.
  4. Kick Laziness in the RearWe often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison. Complacency results from our lack of desire to allow others to influence, challenging the status quo and the lack of curiosity. Why? Because we prefer to remain idle and do nothing. We are just lazy. We accept where we are and what we have accomplished, and there is no desire to do anything more. This creates a complacent environment where we accept our current position. We may have a desire have a desire to be better than we are, but we don’t do anything to move forward. Laziness puts our careers and relationships on hold. We become stagnant and accept our current performance as ideal. Success has no room for laziness. Become a person who desires perfection! In others words, “Just Do It.”
  5. Keep Hope Alive At All CostYou don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Regardless of life or business situations, hope will always shine a positive light. Hope drives our desire for accomplishment. Hope is the belief that circumstances in the future will be better. It’s not a wish that things will get better, but an actual belief, even when there may be no evidence that to support it. Talent, skill, and ability gets you in the game, but the hope is the motivation that keeps you there. 

ComplacencyComplacency robs us of our success and achievements. It creates a way of thinking that blocks our ability to achieve the great things we desire. In fact, complacency sneaks up on us so fast that we don’t realize we’ve become complacent until someone points it out. 

Take a pro-active approach to preventing complacency by evaluating your current personal and business position and taking actions to defeat and even avert complacency. Consider these 5 ways to overcome complacency.

 

YOU GOT THE JOB! 7 Questions in 3 Categories to Ask Before You Accept Your Next Job Offer

I recently found myself in the job market. Even though it was somewhat of a shock, I embraced the idea of looking for a new job with excitement and lots of energy. I didn’t know what to expect or what the outcome may be, but I did know if giving the opportunity to meet face to face, I could influence the individual or group that my experience, knowledge, beliefs, and relationship approach to the profession would result in a positive outcome.

Well, there were more roadblocks than I anticipated along my journey (those will be coming in future blogs). However, I did land several offers, all within a week of each other.

Yes, I made it through the most difficult part of the job search. Well maybe not, deciding on what job to accept and if we were willing to move was pretty difficult in its self.

Throughout this process, I think one of the most difficult things to do was ask the right questions. Questions that provided relevant information to make the right choice. I believe I was so excited that I had an offer, much less multiple offers, that my thought was just to pick the one with the highest salary. Flawed thinking. I didn’t have a job, and I needed a job, so why did it matter. Money is the most essential thing in the position, right? Again, flawed thinking. You need to assess and evaluate all offers based on the role, the company, culture, future, benefits, and salary.

As I began looking at my options and trying to decide on what offer was right for me and my family, I realized I made a few critical interview and follow up mistakes. I didn’t get all the information I needed to make a decision based on sound facts and ultimately intuition.

After the decision was made, I read an article in HR Digest that listed practical questions to ask before you accept a job offer. Reading it, made sense and made me realize I fell short in my preparations for choosing the right offer. Now, I am not saying I picked the wrong position. In fact, I love my job, and it offers excellent challenges with exceptional growth opportunities. However, I believe I could have had a much better understanding of the role and those jobs competing with it.

From that article, I narrow down several questions I feel are relevant to the job search process and any impending offer.

When I began to evaluate each offer and looking back, I realized I should have focused on three main areas. I then identified seven questions in each area I feel are important in the interview process and job offer evaluation.

THE ROLE

Interviewing is a two-way street. The employer is offering you the job, and you are providing the talent.

When you ask questions, it shows interest in the company, gives you more information, and makes the conversation flow between you and the interviewer.

  1. How did this position come to be open?
  2. What does success look like in this role?
  3. What would my immediate priorities be?
  4. What are the most significant challenges people face when they start out in this position?
  5. Who will I report to directly?
  6. What are the expectations of this position over the first twelve months?
  7. How would you measure my success, if I were chosen for this role?

These questions would serve multiple purposes. It would give you a brief idea about how well suited you are for the role or the management style. It also lets the company know you’re motivated, passionate and ambitious in life. Moreover, they will open doors to discuss training, what projects you’ll be working on, and whom you would be working with.

SALARY & BENEFITS

  1. Is the pay negotiable?
  2. What is included as a part of your benefits package?
  3. What kind of opportunities exists for personal growth?
  4. What is the bonus structure? Will I be eligible this year? Is the percentage negotiable?
  5. What metrics or goals will I be evaluated against?
  6. How much paid vacation time will I get per year?
  7. Can I carry over the paid vacation time if I don’t utilize it?

These are specific questions you can ask when considering a job offer. It will make it much easier for you to negotiate on your contract before you join the team.

THE COMPANY CULTURE

  1. Where do you see the company in the next five years?
  2. Can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?
  3. Would you mind giving me a tour of where this job would take place so I can get a feel of where I’d be working and who I would be working with?
  4. How is work-life balance in the company?
  5. What is the company culture here like?
  6. Would I be able to represent the company at industry events and conferences?
  7. Can I answer any final questions for you?

These are some very good questions to ask before you accept a job offer. It means you’re already thinking about the role you have been offered. You can also find out whether a company is right for you.

It will also help you make a better decision when you’re deciding between multiple offers so you can compare responses.

All You Are Is Full Of Hot Air! Moving From Words To Actions

c700x420Last Saturday morning I stepped out on my apartment balcony and saw several hot air balloons passing overhead. In fact, one was lifting off from the field across from the complex. As if I were a little kid, I excitedly called my wife over to show her the activity. She reluctantly came, and I began telling her how I was going to buy a hot air balloon, and I would take her up on a beautiful evening flight with a bottle of cabernet, and we would gaze into each other’s eyes into the evening sunset.

She looked at me and said, “All you are is a bunch of hot air.”

Hey wait a minute, I was romantic. Maybe that is why I was “full of hot air.” I am not well known for my romantic side.

Has anyone ever told you, you were full of hot air? If so, you are not alone. I think this post will help you understand why our words should not be hot air but rather backed up by the foundation of our actions.

It came to me that day while watching hot air balloons drifting overhead, that our words have a great impact on those we speak too. In fact, I realized that our words indicate our intended actions, but the follow-through is more important than any word in our vocabulary.

My intention is not to be a know it all, however, I think I know it all. If you don’t know it, then how will you solve it? Another, a fault I have is answering before I thought it out or committing before I realize what I committed to.  Had anyone ever say that to you? I hear it often because I talk too much. Regardless of the situation, I have the answer, and you will listen to it. My intention is not to be a know it all, however, I know it all. If you don’t know it, then how will you solve it? Another, a fault I have is answering before I thought it out or committing before I realize what I committed to.

I hear “you’re full of hot air, or that’s a lot of empty hot air coming from your mouth,” often. Probably because I talk way too much and have to get in everyone’s business to resolve everyone’s problems. Another, a fault I have is answering before I thought it out or committing before I realize what I committed to.Had anyone ever say that to you? I hear it often because I talk too much. Regardless of the situation, I have the answer, and you will listen to it. My intention is not to be a know it all, however, I know it all. If you don’t know it, then how will you solve it? Another, a fault I have is answering before I thought it out or committing before I realize what I committed to.

I know what you’re thinking, stop rambling and tell us what you are going to tell us.  Ok, Ok, got it. Here you go:

  1. Our actions build trust – Without trust, there is no influence, and without influence, there is no leadership. Deliver on what you say, and you begin to create trust.
  2. Our actions show personal responsibility – When, what we speak, is backed up by what we do, people begin to recognize the responsibility we have for achieving the desired outcome.
  3. Our actions create our reputation – You are known by your behaviors and the work you do. Make sure the things you say are truthful and backup by your actions.
  4. Actions show commitment – When we act, we validate our words, thoughts, and ideas.  We move from the verbal to the physical. Actions move our verbal commitment to the tangible result.

Our words are essential. They lay the foundation of our beliefs and our desires. However, they are merely words, actions prove our intentions and reflect our beliefs and desires.

Choose your words carefully, they must be backed up with actions.

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YOUR ATTITUDE HAS INFLUENCE ON THE BEHAVIORS OF OTHERS

Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?

My wife and I recently spent a few days in New York City, enjoying the sights and sounds of Manhattan from our Madison Avenue hotel, and eating and spending time touring Central Park. One night I was sitting on the window sill, with the window open, 15 stories up (probably not what a safety professional should be doing), and couldn’t help but notice the amount of honking that goes on.  I initially became aware of it during our ride into the city from the airport. However, while I was sitting on the ledge, I realized something. When one person honks, it encourages others to do the same.  It became contagious.  One honk led to another and then another, and before long, it was a musical nightmare of various horns reverberating from building to building. All day, all night, people honked at all hours of the day or night. Recognizing this issue, generated a few rhetorical questions:

  1. Do people honk just because it is New York City and that’s what they do?
  2. What would happen if automakers remove the horn from vehicles?  Would the people of New York City be able to function?
  3. Is using a horn in NYC effective?  Didn’t seem so. Our driver was never affected by the horn.  He just did what he was going to do.  However, he did use his often.

Whether good or bad, your attitude will influence others.

A person’s behavior doesn’t dictate their attitude, but their attitude can dictate their behavior.

Attitude is contagious. Our attitude will determine our success or failure and the success or failure of others.  Attitude is more important than anything else, it is more important than money than any of your circumstances than your failures or your successes. It is more important than your appearance, your talent, or your skill. Your attitude will make or break you, and it will determine your ability to succeed in anything you do.

Winston Churchill said, ”Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”

Change-Negative-Attitude-to-PositiveThere is a direct correlation between attitude and behaviors. A person’s behavior is affected by their attitude.  Specifically, a person may do what is required when they must. However, remove the “must” situation, and they do what they want? Our attitude has an effect on others. Just as when one person honks in NYC, we all honk, our attitude will be contagious to many.

In our quest to positively influence a person’s attitude and ultimately their behavior, we must understand what impact our attitude has to our personal leadership. Once we understand this, we can have a positive influence on the attitudes of others.

Remember these as you consider your influence through your attitude:

  • Our attitude is ALWAYS in play – Simply, our attitude has an effect on everything and everyone.
  • Attitudes can lift a person or tear them down – Chuck Swindoll said, “Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react.”
  • Attitudes are contagious (good or bad)
  • Bad attitudes catch on and spread faster – Honking in NYC…
  • Identifying bad attitudes can be difficult – This is true, especially in ourselves.  We always justify our bad attitudes.
  • Rotten attitudes will ruin everything – Absolutely right! How many times have you gone into a meeting or had a conversation with another person when your attitude was horrible? It never ends well.

667fe4c3-4012-4050-a33b-b92682d6db17_lg-1Casey Stengel,  a successful manager of the New York Yankees, had a conversation with a rookie manager named, Billy Martin.gal-taurus-billy-martin-jpg He told Billy this, “There will be 15 players who will run through a wall of fire for you, 5 who will hate you, and 5 who are undecided. When you make out the rooming list, always room your losers together. Never room a good guy with a loser. Those losers who stay together will blame the manager for everything, but it won’t spread if you keep them isolated.”

Who will you influence with your attitude today?

6 Ways To Add Value To Your Team

Business team shwoing thumbs upI don’t think there is ever an instance where one person is the team, or where one person is responsible for the success or failure of the team. Whether at work or within the family, I believe it always involves a team effort.

As I continue my leadership journey, identifying areas of improvement within myself and when coaching leaders, I am convinced success is always a team effort. Sure, there is always someone who leads the way, but I believe they are supported by the team who is like-minded and supportive of their ideas and efforts.

Experiencing what it really means to add value to a group, I have identified 6 ways to increase the value as a team member.

Here they are:

  1.  SUPPORT THE VISION – Support the vision and direction of the team leader or team itself.  You must be honest with your thoughts and ideas, but in the end be a verbal proponent of the team and the direction the team wants to head.
  2. RESPECT OTHERS – You must comply with the ideas and or concerns of others. Never just dismiss what others have to say or the direction they believe in.  But rather, listen to what they have to say and consider the overall impact it has on the team goal.
  3. BE PREPARED TO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND – Teams need members that are willing to go above and beyond.   You might have to do more, take more and work more.  Be prepared to give it your all to the success of the team.  Be a better planner.  Be a better goal and objective setter and by all means be prepared to hold yourself accountable!
  4. BE THE EXPERT – Great team members are informed by team members.  The best performing team is the most knowledgeable team.  What is our objective?  What do we want to accomplish? What is my role?  Remember, information is knowledge.  The more knowledgeable the Team is, the more likely they are to be successful.
  5. CELEBRATE SUCCESS – Most do not do this well. How often have you achieved a goal and there was no fanfare? No celebration?  It almost seemed success was expected.  Maybe so, however, I believe celebrating your successes (regardless of how small) is the key to future encouragement.  Honestly, don’t be afraid to tell others how much you appreciate their effort and help to accomplish the team’s goals and objectives.
  6. BE A GO TO PERSON –  People appreciate those they can go and talk to.  Individuals who can simply listen and those who convey confidence and support and who are viewed as discrete and trustworthy?  A person that you can bounce off ideas and concerns and know they will simply be heard.

Consider these when working with a team. Only small visions can be achieved without a team. However, one can achieve endless visions with active teams!

Creative Business Team Stacking Hands In Huddle

What Message Are You Sending? 8 Principles for Sending Effective Text- Part 3 of 3

Here are seven (8) texting principles I found to be very helpful:Fotosearch_k26085789

  1. Be careful with abbreviations. Texting is meant to be a fast form of communication, so we tend to use abbreviations and shortcuts such as “np” (no problem) or “u” (you). But there is such a thing as an inappropriate abbreviation and acronym.
  2. Watch your tone. Texting is a fast and easy. Make sure you use words that set your intended, not perceived tone.
  3. Never send bad news via text. I had a CEO fire two VP’s via text. I was shocked. Guess he was scared of them. Keep texting positive or neutral.
  4. Don’t change meeting times or venues in a text.  However, you can confirm meeting times or places through text.
  5. Double check when using the voice-to-text feature.  The translation can be tricky.
  6. Don’t text during a meeting or presentation. This action is just rude!  Even if you are doing it under the table or behind a book, the presenter can tell.  As a speaker and trainer, it offends me when I see people looking at their phones.
  7. Darn, autocorrect!  This feature bites me often. Watch the auto correct feature.  An excellent way to fix this is to READ your text before you hit send.
  8. Don’t text and drive – This is a killer. 35% of all vehicle fatalities involve texting and driving. Even people who text and drive, hate people who text and drive.

textingBy following these simple rules and abiding by proper etiquette, mastering the ability to craft and send valid emails and text can be easy.   I crafted this blog, not only because of my shortcomings but also my frustrations.

How we respond to emails and text can result in positive or negative consequences and determine our influence on others. Spend the effort and time to make sure your texts and emails reflect your intended message.

What Message Are You Sending? PART 1 of 3 – 10 Rules and Etiquette for Crafting and Sending Effective Emails

email 2You’ve been there.  You get an email accusing you of some action or lack of action. The tone is rude and inappropriate.  The sender includes several people, many who have no reason to be involved. As you read what is written, the words spark enraged anger from deep within your soul.

You immediately react by hitting “Reply All.”  In fact, you want to vindicate yourself, so you “Bcc” your supervisor. Through your rage, you unleash a barrage of words that support your position.

Immediately, after hitting the send button, you receive a text from your boss.  Yes!  He wants to congratulate you on an excellent response!  Only when you open the text, it says “meet me in my office first thing in the morning.”

Emails and texting, perceived in the wrong way, can lessen or eliminate the influence email-logoyou have with your staff or groups. The relationships you spent months or maybe years to build and foster are now in jeopardy.

Email and texting should never be a substitute for face to face communication or phone conversation. However, if crafted properly, these can be useful in reinforcing your ideas and increasing your influence.

In part 1 of my 3 part series, I provide 10 rules and etiquette for crafting and sending using emails.

I find these very useful and productive to lessen the chance of responding in a destructive or unprofessional manner.

EMAIL

When preparing or an email consider the following 10 suggestions:

  1. First, consider a face-to-face or phone call before sending an email. 
  2. Send the email to those that absolutely need to know.  
  3.  “CC” people for information only.  “CC” responses should only be sent if the data reinforce or add additional pertinent information.
  4. Make sure the “subject” accurately depicts the content.
  5. Content must be specifically related to your “TO” group. Be precise, concise, and clear.
  6. Begin the email with a positive statement. Sets the tone for the responses.
  7. Continued disagreement or confusion, set up an in person meeting, conference call or video chat.
  8. READ IT BEFORE YOU HIT SEND AND THEN READ IT AGAIN. Read and re-read your email.  Make sure your grammar, spelling, and choice of words portray the intended tone and message.
  9. Emails should NEVER be used to reprimand, counsel or address disagreements. 
  10. When in doubt…….have a face-to-face conversation.

10 Actions To Increase Your Influence With Others

Want to be influential? Do these 10 things.

  1. ENCOURAGE – Start every conversation with something positive about the person or group you are addressing within the first 30 seconds. People are motivated by encouraging words.
  2. UNDERSTAND YOURSELF – When I think about what needs to happen or take place, I reflect on how my actions, my conversations, and my vision will affect others. I’ve realized that my performance is a direct reflection of my leadership.
  3. KNOW WHAT OTHERS GO THROUGH- Understand the trials and troubles others go through by being a part of their day. Good leaders become someone who listens to their people, not to reply, but to understand. Get in tune and know the people you lead and you will increase your influence.
  4. REALIZE EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT – They understand Good Leaders Ask Great Questions (read this book from John Maxwell). The right questions will uncover a person’s interests and what motivates them. I think it is important to connect by finding common ground and nurturing relationships.
  5. HELP OTHERS – I have learned when we are first to offer assistance and aid, we begin connecting in such a way that our relationship allows us to influence. Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
  6. ADD VALUE – Add value by finding out what is important to those you lead. The value will look different in every situation. A good leader will ask great questions to identify what value looks like.
  7. SHARE STORIES AND EXAMPLES – As a speaker, I’ve learned the importance of sharing good relevant stories. As a leader and professional, I’ve recognized the importance and effectiveness of sharing good stories with those I influence. People want to see the human side of leaders. I believe stories create a sense of belonging and connect us through life’s similarities.
  8. NO STRINGS ATTACHED – Christopher Reeve said: “Success is finding satisfaction in giving a little more than you take.” When we give without any strings attached, we will benefit professionally and personally and professionally.
  9. REMEMBER NAMES -Learn the names of those you meet and associate with. Few sounds are as sweet to a person as hearing their spoken name, few sounds are as irritating when you refer to someone by the wrong name. Remembering names, shows you value them.
  10. ACKNOWLEDGE STRENGTHS – I think one of the best ways to gain influence is to recognize a person’s strengths. Areas of their personality or employment that seems to tie them well to the organization. In fact, they will want to “Exceed Expectations,” not just meet them.

InfluenceWe all have influence, big and small. We all have things we are gifted or talented. Things we leverage by adding value to others. Whether it is our attitude, problem-solving skills or simply just our ability to laugh, we should be sharing our knowledge, experience, and influence. Employees respond to influence. We should work hard to increase our influence by adding real value every day. Do this, and you will improve your leadership. You’ve heard it before, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” People respond to influence. We must work to increase our influence by adding value every day. Do this, and you will increase your leadership. You’ve heard it before, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”

We must work to increase our influence by adding value every day. Do this, and you will increase your leadership. To lead others, you must influence! Do these 10 actions regularly, and watch your influence grow!