Alignment Solutions Newsletter: How Are You Building Your Legacy?

May 11th, 2016


How Are You Building Your Legacy?

Alignment solution: Not everyone can change the world as profoundly as a Mother Teresa or a Steve Jobs. Regardless of where our talents lie, however, we all are capable of leaving a positive legacy.

Some legacies arise from a game-changing invention or innovation, or a life-saving discovery, or an inspiring life of service. Most, however, are built on everyday actions, decisions, and choices that leave the world a better place. As Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

My brother Peter describes himself on his Facebook page as “a man of few talents, many moods, light-hearted, deadly serious, kind to animals.” Those words don’t begin to hint at the legacy that he is creating. During the last ten years, for example, he was the neighborhood “Grampy,” spending hours talking with, teaching, and mentoring kids who learned they could trust him to help them navigate the choppy waters of childhood and the teenage years. I can only imagine the impact his attention and encouragement will have as they grow up.

Here are twenty suggestions for building a positive legacy by leaving the world a better place than you found it. These techniques work both in and outside of the workplace.

  1. Embrace this mindset: “I make the world a better place every day through my beliefs, words, and actions.”
  2. Identify and use your talents every day.
  3. Help others identify their talents and show them how they can use them daily.
  4. Provide opportunities for people to shine.
  5. Set yourself and others up for success.
  6. Help people feel part of something bigger than themselves by articulating a clear “big picture” that describes the person’s or the organization’s vision.
  7. Inspire people by helping them see how they contribute to that “big picture.”
  8. Focus and build on individual and collective strengths and successes.
  9. Create and sustain a positive, appreciative environment.
  10. Learn what motivates each individual and use that information to move them to action.
  11. Give the gift of active listening to each person.
  12. Mentor others, formally or informally.
  13. Use your talents to help improve your community.
  14. Spend quality time with whoever you’re with by being fully present.
  15. Learn about others by being curious about who they are.
  16. Share your life experiences generously with others.
  17. Expand others’ horizons by opening their eyes to the possibilities of their talents.
  18. Tell others specifically how they matter in the world.
  19. Look for the good that people do.
  20. Challenge people to reach their full potential: refuse to accept mediocrity in yourself or others.

What will be your legacy? What will you do today to make the world a better place than it was when you arrived?


To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at  www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

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© 2016 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: For Successful Strategy Implementation, Follow a Recipe

April 8th, 2016

 

For Successful Strategy Implementation,
Follow a Recipe

Alignment solution: You dramatically increase the likelihood of achieving the goals in your strategic plan if you develop an implementation plan vs. an action plan.

As my senior year in college wound down, it occurred to me that I ought to get serious about learning how to cook. Although I like a lot of different kinds of food, once a meal required more than putting something between two slices of bread or following the instructions on a box or can that went beyond “Add water and stir,” my lack of interest in the culinary arts had left me dependent on the kindness of others. While I understood WHAT I wanted (good, inexpensive home cooked meals), I was clueless about HOW to achieve that outcome. Fortunately during a trip to the campus bookstore, a promising title caught my eye: The Campus Survival Cookbook. Opening the book to a random recipe, the first step told me immediately that the authors had me in mind when they wrote it: “Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. Close the door.”

How often have you been given responsibility for achieving an outcome and not had a clue about how to pull it off? Trial and error is one way of learning. However, the costs of taking this approach often outweigh its benefits. Yet the “hit or miss” option often is the default method when it comes to creating a strategic plan. Here’s a common scenario: leaders write a strategic plan and tell their subordinates to make it happen. Some even may write an action plan to accompany the strategy. Yet somehow the goals never are achieved.

“Strategies fail in their implementation” is true. The world’s best written strategic plan is a failure if it winds up in a drawer or on a shelf (or merely published on the web site). It does nothing to help move the organization forward or serve its customers better. To dramatically increase the likelihood of achieving the goals in their strategic plans, I advise my clients to write an implementation plan vs. an action plan. Here are three major differences between these two approaches:

Action Plan Implementation Plan
1. Like a “to do” list, it tells people what to do, but not how to do it or what the expected outcome is 1. Like a recipe, it tells people what to do, how to do it, and what the desired outcome is
2. Because it’s vague, the amount of guess work required wastes resources 2. Because it’s precise, guess work is minimized and resources are optimized
3. It focuses on activities that may or may not lead to the desired outcome 3. It focuses on the desired results

Although taking the “recipe” approach is key to a successful strategy implementation, it does present some challenges. Due to the required level of detail, for example, creating it is very labor intensive. In addition, few people have the necessary expertise to do a good job. Yet there are tools available to help mitigate these challenges and successfully implement your strategy. What’s it worth to you and your customers to enable your organization to provide the best possible service or products effectively and efficiently? What’s the cost of NOT doing so?

If you’d like to see an example of an implementation plan, go to my web site and request an example of what a template for implementing part of a mentor program looks like. (Scroll down to Fire-Rescue International 2014 conference, handout #2.)


To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at  www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

Click here to Join Our Mailing List!

 

 

 

 

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© 2016 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

 

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: Workplace Socialization Insights from a Local Animal Shelter

March 23rd, 2016


Workplace Socialization Insights
from a Local Animal Shelter

Alignment solution: How you socialize new employees and team members helps set the stage for their subsequent success.

Recently I adopted a nine-month old cat from a local animal shelter. He’d had a rough start in life, which made him very distrustful of people and fearful of new surroundings. As I was getting ready to take him home, one of the dedicated shelter volunteers offered this advice: “Everything will be new to him. He doesn’t know you, or where things are, or who he can trust. He doesn’t know yet that he shouldn’t chew on electrical cords. Be very patient with him. Let him settle in at his own pace. Create a safe space for him as he gets to know his new surroundings and family. Soon the things that are new now will become as ordinary to him as they are to you.”

This advice is just as sound for people as it is for pets. When you have new employees – whether they’re starting their first job or have years of experience – they are entering unfamiliar terrain. They are anxious to learn the ropes and fit in so they can contribute. It’s the leader’s job to socialize these folks to the workplace – i.e., teach them how things are done here. The more supportive you and other employees are, the faster the new people will be able to integrate themselves into the team and be productive. Here are four ways to help accelerate the socialization process and make it as smooth as possible:

  1. Remember that all or many aspects of the new assignment (e.g., location, equipment, people, traditions, norms) are unfamiliar. Try to see the situation from the new person’s perspective, and fill in the blanks pro-actively.
  1. To the extent possible, let new employees set their own pace in settling in. Make it clear that there is no such thing as a “stupid” question. Make yourself available for consultation. Provide constructive feedback. Most people will do just fine. Those who inadvertently step on toes by acting prematurely, or those who seem slow in finding their way, can be guided to a more effective path quickly.
  1. Don’t change who you (or your team) are. Do let the new folks know how your team operates, what your performance expectations are, how you both will know when they meet or exceed them, and what resources are available to enable their individual and collective success. Welcome their suggestions, and let them know you are open to ideas for improvement.
  1. Recognize in advance that there are likely to be some rough patches during the socialization process. Remain patient and encouraging as you all work through them. Don’t give up prematurely when you run into a particularly sticky or stubborn problem. Remember that each person was hired for a particular reason, and do your best to help everyone weather the storm in good shape.

The way that you bring people into a new organization or team sets the stage for their subsequent success or failure. The socialization process plays a huge role in employees’ decisions about whether and how long to stay with the organization. By taking the newcomers’ perspectives, communicating reasonable expectations and providing the support needed to meet or exceed them, and being prepared for possible stormy weather, you can accelerate the socialization process and greatly influence their experience on the new job. You’ve already invested in these individuals. Why not protect that investment by setting them up for success?


To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at  www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

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© 2016 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: How to Gain Buy-in Despite Resistance

February 24th, 2016


How to Gain Buy-in Despite Resistance

Alignment solution: Following a proven process that takes a positive approach enables you to win over resistant stakeholders no matter the issue at hand.

Human beings seem hard-wired to resist change, even when we believe the promised outcome will be positive. In the late 1980s, for example, when CEO Fred Smith declared that FedEx would become the first service company to win the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Excellence Award, I didn’t hear of a single employee who was anything but enthusiastic about this goal. That is, until we found out that it required US to change how we worked. Suddenly the status quo looked a lot more attractive to us.

Like other organizations, public safety agencies are subject to stakeholders’ resistance to change. However, Fire Chief Kingman Schuldt has developed a process that has enabled the Greater Naples Fire and Rescue District to overcome successfully the objections by a variety of stakeholders to a number of initiatives. As a result, the agency has been successful in consolidating multiple independent fire districts as well as developing and implementing an organizational strategy, an employee performance system, and a customer satisfaction survey program. Here are the steps in that process:

  1. Recognize that winning buy-in is a process, not a task or activity.
  2. Take a positive approach.
  3. Have a plan to address negativity.
  4. Identify all relevant internal and external stakeholders.
  5. Tell stakeholders up front what’s in it for THEM to support the change.
  6. Create a procedurally fair process that enables widespread participation.
  7. Identify, research, and vet potential solutions.
  8. Delegate as much responsibility as possible to relevant internal and external stakeholders.
  9. Communicate, communicate, communicate – directly, openly, frequently, and honestly.
  10. Provide positive constructive feedback.
  11. Co-create a big picture of the desired outcome and use it as a touchstone.
  12. Address the political aspects of the issue.
  13. Invest in outside experts when necessary.

By following the above process, over time, your organization can establish a culture that takes a positive approach to all issues, not just those at the strategic level. Such a culture can result in increased employee morale, greater productivity, and delighted customers. Why not make that investment in your organization?


If you’d like details about the above process and some examples of how it works, take a look at my article Using a Positive Approach to Gain Buy-in from Resistant Stakeholders. To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

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© 2016 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: Tips for Creating Meaningful Measures

February 10th, 2016


Tips for Creating Meaningful Measures

Alignment solution: Whether used in a strategy, an annual report, or a performance management process, meaningful measures make your life easier.

By “meaningful measures” I mean indicators that demonstrate performance and/or outcomes clearly to the target audience. For example, in a strategy, measures reveal to stakeholders the progress toward, and achievement of, organizational goals. In an annual report, they demonstrate the value you provide your customers. In a performance management process, metrics enable you to assess employees’ efforts.

Unfortunately, “metrics” or “measure” is a word that can intimidate even the most accomplished leaders. Although measures are an indispensable leadership tool, the reality is that developing meaningful indicators can be challenging. Here are nine suggestions to help make that process easier for you.

  1. Focus on measuring RESULTS that are meaningful to your target audience (vs. activities).
  2. To determine what results your stakeholders find meaningful, ask and answer two questions from your audience’s perspectives. (Note: when you have more than one type of stakeholder, be sure to address each one’s interests.)
    1. So what?
    2. What’s in it for ME?
  3. Include measures of progress as well as of achievement, especially for long-term goals.
  4. To identify relevant measures, ask yourself these questions: “How will stakeholders know when we have achieved this goal or objective? How will they know when we have made progress toward achieving it?”
  5. Use measures that are as objective as possible, such as quantitative data or comparisons to existing performance standards.
  6. Use qualitative measures that assess more subjective outcomes that stakeholders value. For example, use relevant examples of behaviors or outcomes (e.g., “…as demonstrated by…”) to describe a change.
  7. Be very, very specific. For example:
    1. Use action verbs that specify WHAT is to be done or what will change. (“Know” and “understand” are not action verbs.)
    2. Identify a specific person WHO is responsible for achievement of the goal or objective, and has the authority to do it. Though he/she may delegate it to someone else, he/she retains ultimate accountability.
    3. Specify WHEN the outcome or progress is expected (e.g., “by 3/15/16” vs. “in March 2016”), or time frame (e.g., “Within 90 calendar days of the Board’s approval of resources”).
  8. Include one action verb per measure. For example, “Develop and implement a
    supervisory skills class” requires two objectives and two measures because it contains two actions.
  9. Put the measures in contexts that the audience can understand and appreciate. For example, percentages, ratios, and multi-period or “before and after” comparisons allow people to interpret and evaluate results effectively.

If you’d like more information about how to create meaningful measures, take a look at my article Solutions to the 5 Most Common Measurement Mistakes. To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

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© 2016 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: Do You Want to Espouse Excellence or Settle for Mediocrity?

January 27th, 2016


Do You Want to Espouse Excellence
or Settle for Mediocrity?

Alignment solution: Organizations that aspire to excellence yet fail to set themselves up for success are letting their customers and their employees down.

The mission or vision statements of many organizations make a commitment to service and/or product excellence. Ensuring excellence requires leaders to set their organizations and employees up for success rather than for mediocrity. Yet often the infrastructure required to meet this level of commitment is missing or woefully inadequate.

One way to achieve excellence is to develop and implement a viable succession process that ensures a pool of qualified individuals who are ready, able, and willing to fill critical vacancies throughout the organization. The alternatives tend to be either no process or a replacement approach that’s inconsistent, costly, and often mis-matches people and jobs, to the detriment of both customers and employees.

A viable succession process sets up individuals and agencies for success by providing a systematic framework within which people are able to get the training and development needed for them to be fully successful in their current and future jobs. It focuses on critical jobs and skills throughout the organization, not just at the top. It enables organizations to deliver on their promise of excellence.

Here’s why implementing a viable succession process enables excellence rather than mediocrity:

  • When the right people are in the right jobs, positive outcomes result – e.g., employee morale and productivity are high, customers are delighted, and profitability increases.
  • The establishment of a process to share and maintain an institutional memory ensures valuable information and expertise are preserved.
  • Providing a process for promotion from within is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining the best performers.
  • Organizations that rely heavily on customer relationships can provide the consistency their customers demand.
  • By continuously monitoring employees’ competencies against customers’ or technology’s needs, leaders are able to adapt more quickly to change.
  • Employees are set up to succeed because they are prepared for the jobs they are called upon to perform.
  • Espousing and delivering excellence increases customers’ and employees’ trust.

Leaders who truly aspire to excellence would be well served to develop and implement a viable succession process throughout their organizations. An effective succession process is scalable to the situation and the available resources, so there’s no excuse for failing to establish one. Leaders who are unwilling to do so need to move aside in favor of those willing to make good on their organizaton’s commitment to excellence.


If you’d like some ideas about how to educate yourself and others about the critical need for establishing a viable succession process in your organization, take a look at my articles How to Make a Compelling Case for Implementing a Succession Process and Succession Planning Myths and Realities. To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

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© 2016 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: 3 Techniques for Enabling Personal and Professional Growth

December 30th, 2015


3 Techniques for Enabling Personal
and Professional Growth

Alignment solution: De-cluttering your life creates the space necessary for personal and professional growth. 

Personal and professional growth requires us to go outside our comfort zones. Yet many people can’t begin to test their boundaries because their lives are filled with time-consuming “stuff.” Here are three techniques that can help create the space necessary for your growth by de-cluttering your life.

Technique #1: Reflect on this statement: “Sometimes we need to let go of the good things in life to make room for the great things.”

Though I don’t know who originally made this statement, a colleague shared it with me years ago when I was considering a career change. Hesitant to move forward into the uncertainty of starting my own business, I was clinging to the security of my tenured university professor position because I truly enjoyed teaching, even though I knew it was time for me to move on. This advice helped me to make that transition, and since then, to make positive changes in other aspects of my life.

Try it: Imagine what great things might be in store for you once you make the space for them! Even when you’re not sure what they are, release one “good thing” and see what happens.

Technique #2: Ask yourself this question: “Does this [person, belief, activity, assumption, thing] still serve me well?” If the answer is “No,” release it.
           
Consciously or not, most human beings are collectors – of people, beliefs, assumptions, material goods. We tend to accumulate more and more “stuff” without periodically questioning whether we still want or need it. Our lives become unnecessarily cluttered. No wonder we feel overburdened!

Try it: Ask yourself the above question, inserting one word or name at a time. Answe truthfully. Repeat often. When the answer is “No,” release whatever or whomever nolonger serves you well.

Technique #3: Ask yourself this question: “Am I the only person in the world who can do this [task at hand]?” If the answer is “No,” delegate it!
           
There are many reasons why we tend to do things ourselves rather than delegate them. Sometimes it’s force of habit, or a means of procrastination. Sometimes we believe (falsely) that no one could do the task better or faster than we can. The list of excuses stretches on while we wonder why we don’t have any time to do the things we care about.

Try it: If you have trouble delegating tasks, change your mindset. Think of delegating as an opportunity to let others shine. For every task you don’t like, or aren’t that good at, or aren’t interested in, there are people who would jump at the chance to do it. Why not let them engage their interests, skills, talents, or abilities? You would be doing yourself and them a huge favor.

When we choose to stick with what we know, take on more than is necessary, and/or hold onto people or things that no longer serve us well, our growth is stunted and our quality of life suffers. Try any one of these three techniques today. You will discover that de-cluttering your life enhances its quality tremendously by enabling your personal and professional growth.

Best wishes for a year filled with great things!


To find articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

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© 2015 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: How to Re-set Unrealistic Workplace Expectations

December 9th, 2015


How to Re-set Unrealistic
Workplace Expectations

Alignment solution: You can set yourself and others up for success by re-setting unrealistic workplace expectations.

Unrealistic expectations have widespread negative repercussions in the workplace. They establish impossible standards that even high achievers who are consummate problem-solvers cannot meet. Yet people try anyway, often to their own and others’ detriment.

Employees trying to meet impossible standards may take short-cuts or give up altogether. As a result, morale drops, self-confidence plummets, resentment grows, trust (in oneself and each other) is eroded, and people begin to question their own competency. Stress increases when employees perceive that even heroic efforts are not good enough.

To re-set unrealistic expectations, there are two audiences you must address: yourself and your employees. Some actions to counter unrealistic expectations are common to both groups:

  1. Set reasonable expectations and standards up front.
  2. Quickly re-set impracticable expectations as they arise.
  3. De-bunk “facts” that reflect an altered reality.

Here are some audience-specific actions you can take to re-set unrealistic expectations:

Self:

  1. Develop a realistic mindset. Recognize and own the fact that you cannot do everything. Model that mindset through your language and your decisions.
  2. Distinguish clearly between what you can control and what you can’t. Focus on the former and release the latter. Teach others to do the same.
  3. Set reasonable goals for yourself – i.e., those that are attainable even though they may cause you to stretch.
  4. Resist the temptation to maintain a dual standard: an unrealistic one for yourself and another, realistic one for everyone else. People believe what you DO, not what you say. If you set yourself up for failure, you’re also doing so for others.

Employees:

  1. Establish a culture of resiliency that allows for “failure” and embraces mistakes as learning opportunities. Define “failure” as something other than an imperfect outcome.
  2. De-bunk the notion that 100% success is possible. Convey the message that not all projects or customer interactions will go perfectly despite everyone’s best efforts Replace this fallacy with the expectation that everyone will do everything possible within reason.
  3. When mistakes are made, have employees identify what they learned and how they can apply that knowledge in the future.
  4. When employees beat themselves up over a project or customer interaction that went badly, help them re-set their perceptions so they can remember what they did well, and the lessons they learned.

You can set yourself and others up for success by establishing realistic expectations and by consistently challenging those that are not. The workplace can be a stressful environment. Don’t make your and others’ jobs harder than necessary by setting, or allowing to others to create, impossible standards.


To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

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© 2015 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: The Paradox of Compassion

November 11th, 2015


The Paradox of Compassion

Alignment solution: You cannot be truly compassionate toward others unless you first are kind to yourself.

Compassion has two components: a feeling of deep sympathy for others who have undergone misfortune, and a desire to alleviate their suffering. It is compassion that leads many people to join “helping” professions or volunteer for charitable causes. Some organizations that identify core values identify compassion as a quality that defines who they are, as an organization and as individuals. People feel proud that they serve others selflessly and with humility.

Yet most are fooling themselves: they are not fully compassionate.

The paradox of compassion is that you cannot be truly compassionate toward others unless you first are kind to yourself. There’s a reason why flight attendants tell passengers to put their own oxygen masks on first before helping others during an emergency: you can’t be part of the solution if you become part of the problem. Yet too many people fail to make regular self-care a priority. The problem: if donned consistently, the armor of selflessness masks the seeds of self-destruction. You don’t expect that a phone whose battery has run down will work, so why do you expect that you will be able to perform at full capacity and be fully present for, aware of, and caring toward others when you don’t take care of yourself?

The holidays highlight the conflict inherent in the paradox of compassion. During this time of heightened awareness of others’ plights and the sincere desire to mitigate their misfortune, people are particularly likely to put their own needs aside. At the same time that work and family demands may increase, they try to reach out to others in a special way to ease their lives. Their generosity stretches them to their limits and beyond. When something has to give – as it will – they generally cut back on their self-care, leaving themselves feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and perhaps guilty due to their lack of family time.

Here are twelve ways that you can be kind to yourself starting right now:

  1. When you begin to experience signs of stress, take a few minutes to engage in deep breathing or relaxation techniques.
  2. When you mess up, treat yourself the way you would a similarly situated family member or close friend.
  3. Embrace setbacks as learning opportunities, not as occasions to beat yourself up.
  4. Consistently engage in positive self-talk.
  5. Ask yourself what you did WELL in a given situation. Build on those actions or qualities to improve in the future.
  6. Listen to your body and act on its needs in a timely manner.
  7. Take a few minutes out of your day to notice and enjoy the simple things in life.
  8. Write a 60-minute appointment with yourself this week on your calendar. Make that time sacrosanct. Do whatever YOU want to do during that time. Then book another appointment for the following week. Over time, increase the number of self-appointments each week.
  9. Throw yourself a “pity party” as needed to honor negative emotions and release    them. Set a timer for 10 minutes. During that time, feel as sorry for yourself as you possibly can. When the timer goes off, the party is over and it’s time to move on. This technique is effective for releasing any negative emotion.
  10. Laugh often.
  11. Do something fun every day.
  12. Get an accountability partner. Ask each other one question every day: “How were you kind to yourself yesterday?” Answer the question without comments, excuses, or feedback.

What will YOU do to be kind to yourself today?


If you would like more ideas about how to take care of yourself, take a look at our article 31 No-cost Ways to Take Care of Yourself. To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


Alignment Solutions is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help organizational leaders optimize their business results. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.

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© 2015 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Alignment Solutions Newsletter: Let’s Stop Excusing Bad Behavior and Harmful Outcomes

October 14th, 2015


Let’s Stop Excusing Bad Behavior
and Harmful Outcomes

Alignment solution: “Politically correct” language is a toxin that results in dysfunctional behaviors and outcomes. It’s time to replace it with candid conversations.

In today’s world, “politically correct” language has run amok, leaving dysfunction in its wake. Instead of engaging in candid conversations, people tiptoe around issues or situations for any number of reasons: they don’t want to upset others, they’re uncomfortable dealing with emotions, or they don’t want to jeopardize their personal interests. As a result, we allow poor performance and even “unacceptable” outcomes to flourish.

Examples of the toxicity of politically correct language and its dysfunctional outcomes abound in the news. Here are a few of the most recent:

The language The reality
   
A college football coach’s erratic public behavior was blamed on his having been “over-served” alcohol The coach drank too much and behaved in ways that hurt his team’s performance and the school’s reputation
Victims of violent crimes routinely are described as being “in the wrong place at the wrong time” A teenager shot and killed a student as she left her high school’s football game
City council members say, “The money to restore the closed engine companies isn’t available” City council members choose not to allocate sufficient resources to public safety
The Dodgers player whose controversial “hard slide” broke the leg of the Mets’ shortstop said, “That’s winning baseball” The player’s slide – acknowledged as late and high as well as “borderline dirty” – bolstered  the legitimacy of the damaging “win at all costs” mentality

Here’s the problem: politically correct language provides cover for those whose bad or illegal choices harm others because it excuses or rationalizes their actions. Failing to hold people accountable due to fear of being labeled politically incorrect creates a toxic work environment and opens the door to victimhood and feelings of helplessness and despair. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We have a choice: to continue to enable bad behavior and harmful outcomes by tolerating “political correctness” or to say “no” to victimhood by insisting on accountability. We start by using candid language that clearly reflects reality and refuses to excuse or rationalize bad choices and harmful outcomes.

Here are four steps you can take to enable candid conversations in your organization:

  1. Teach people the skills needed to have direct, honest, constructive conversations.
  2. Reinforce and reward those who engage in candid conversations.
  3. Hold everyone, including yourself, accountable for their decisions and behaviors.
  4. Let people know the benefits of candid conversations as well as the negative consequences of indirect or politically correct language.

If you would like to learn more about how a lack of candor can hurt your organization, and how you can realize the benefits of an environment in which candid conversations are the norm, take a look at our article Why and How to Drive the Political Correctness “Elephant” Out of Your Workplace. To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com.


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