Leaders Open Doors: A Radically Simple Approach to Lift People, Profits, and Performance - May 16, 2013
When I picked up this little treasure of a book by Bill Treasurer, I was interested, but still wondering what this would offer that countless other impactful leadership reads out there don’t. I was pleasantly surprised on a number of fronts, and found Bill’s next book after his internationally best selling book Courage Goes to Work, my new gift to my coaching clients.
I am a woman on the go! Balancing a growing business, volunteering regularly, raising a 6 year old, supporting a college rising-senior and other family demands, I do not take a lot of time to read many books cover to cover. I love books, use references and gain knowledge through the nuggets they provide. However, I am not what one would call a voracious reader. So Bill’s simple and pragmatic approach resonated with me immediately, and I love it! Like me, Bill is ‘experienced’ and has young children, so I related to him immediately. The title of his book is credited to his preschooler who came home one day after being selected ‘leader of the day.’ When Bill asked his son what he got to do as the class leader, his son replied, “I got to open doors for people!” Bill says that in a matter of 15 seconds, with seven simple words, his son clarified what’s most import about leadership. I was hooked!
Bill tells us he is rather a brainiac after a successful career that included an executive position with Accenture. He admits to having been a member of and subsequent resignation from the LLC: Legion of Leadership Complexifiers. That made me laugh. You know, all that leadership-speak that makes us sound worthy of hanging out with the muckety mucks and hossermawickets. I have been guilty of pledging for membership in that club too. It’s wat you do when you are climbing that corporate ladder.
It’s not about open door policies or keeping your door open. Not even close!
So many quotes I have already shared with my leadership coaching clients, and powerful questions and distinctions have paved the way to make a difference for them in this book. ”Leaders would be better served to talk about what gets them up in the morning than what keeps them awake at night.” A small nuance, with a powerful shift in energy and how one tackles their world. It’s generative, not laden in worry.
In my work educating leaders on generational differences and Leading Millennials, I hear some tell me. “They’re just kids. They don’t know anything.”
Well that is not a mindset that will win you loyalty and it is not going to inspire or motivate. One of the managers in a recent training actually said to the class, “When those Millennials ask me why I want them to do something, I just tell them if I wanted them to know why, I would tell them. Just do it!” He said it with a badge of honor.
He was unaware how debilitating that was and what that was creating on his team. After all that is how he was raised in the working world. (He has since seen the light and his people are wondering what has happened! Grateful!) Bill reinforces what I have already learned in my own research that when we all act like adults, treat each other like adults, much more is possible.
This hands-on, pragmatic guide will open your eyes to new ways to open doors as leaders. Bill talks about these critical opportunities:
- The Proving-Ground Door – “Put me in coach! I’m ready to play!”
- The Thought-Shifting Door – “…small language changes. There’s a big difference between ‘not bad’ and ‘pretty good.”
- The Door to Second Chance – …when honest and legal.
- Opening Doors for Others – Not just those who look, act and sound like us.
- The Door to Personal Transformation – Inspiring one’s own personal transformation is a start!
- The Door to Your Open Heart – Answering ‘yes’ to the ‘do you care about me question.’
I am thinking about giving this book to all my new coaching clients. These are foundational principles packaged in a way that can create sustainable behavior change. A coaches door.
Bill Treasurer, Chief Encouragement Officer at Giant Leap Consulting and former U.S. High Diver, wants leaders to be a part of opening doors of opportunities for others to thrive, achieve, and lead. The proceeds of his new book, Leaders Open Doors, are being donated to charities that serve children with special needs. Available on Amazon.
Good News About Millennials! - February 26, 2013
Earlier this month I was privileged to speak to about 200 college Juniors and Seniors at the Lynchburg College Anderson Leadership Conference. It is a special program on a Saturday that has become a popular and well attended special event at the college. I am a 1985 grad/alumni and The Anderson Leadership Conference is made possible by an endowment established in 1990 by Crantford V. “Andy” Anderson, Jr. and his wife, Jeri, in memory of their son, Chip, a 1985 graduate of Lynchburg College. The Crantford V. “Chip” Anderson III Endowment, administered by the Office of Student Activities, provides funding for activities that foster leadership among high school and college students. As a leadership development junkee, I was thrilled to be asked to speak, and truly honored and touched to realize the event was in memory of my classmate.
I spoke about the generations, and tried to offer the future grads some insights into what they can expect from the multiple generations in the workplace, and also provide some business basics tips I have picked up in the research I’ve been doing on the subject the last year. I was impressed that 200 college young adults attended a Saturday program; and most were well dressed killing the perception that Millennials do not know what appropriate dress is. I was also impressed in how they can actually communicate with one another as well as adults, again extinguishing another myth that their social networking and tech savvy upbringings have somehow eliminated their ability to use verbal communications skills. I am extremely optimistic about the future of industry if these participants are any indication of what our schools are educating and unleashing onto society.
The more I am around Millennials, the happier I become that it is their turn. And I am grateful to hand the reigns over to this new generation, and feel it is my calling to help them be effective and successful.
My advice to skeptical Gen X and Boomers: Encourage them, talk to them, tell them what is expected, ask them about what matters to them. Here is a Coaching Action Plan that may help you if you are managing Millennials.
| What motivates them?Learning Style (auditory, visual, experiential):
| Five words they use to describe themselves:
Top three values:
Social Media preferences:
Frequency of contact:
Preferred communication vehicle and style:
Competency and Skills Strengths:
Competency and Skill Gaps:
- Engage them and they will do well.
- Ignore them, and they will leave, or worse – stay and check out.
- Respect them and they will return it.
- Relate to them and they will be yours.
Year-end Reflections - December 31, 2012
December is an interesting month. In business it signifies year-end for many. Closing out ‘the books’ and analyzing expenses among other things take up the time of many a finance professional. The first three weeks are often a flurry of activity preparing for the near shut-down of businesses world-wide between Christmas and New Years. Traffic increases, stores are crowded, kids are bouncing off the walls trying to stay on the nice list. Countless managers are gathering feedback for performance reviews, and checking if goals were met or exceeded. Some organizations tie pay to performance. Others provide COLAs (cost of living increases), others give holiday bonuses, or extra time-off.
I set some personal goals for myself in January, and tried to be intentional in reviewing my progress since I really do not have a manager asking me to do so. I tweaked my goals along the way to reflect changing environmental factors. My goals were focused on managing stress, and taking care of myself and family. I set business goals for The Ermi Group which included researching/writing a book, keynote speeches and workshops regarding Leading Millennials. The book is a work-in-progress and I conducted a few keynotes and several Leading Millennials workshops. It was a good year overall. And my streamlined personal goal was quality time with family, and I feel good about achieving that too.
It was an important year of discovering where my energy was most needed. If you have been reading my entries you would know that my husband is a stroke survivor. Ten years ago on July 1 he suffered a ‘freak’ stroke at age 38. He no longer works outside the home, and has been an amazing stay-at-home dad. The six year old started kindergarten and the 20 year old is a junior in college. So new routines had to be created, and if you know anything about brain injury, the short-term memory is often impacted, and hard-wiring new concepts takes a lot longer than for other people.
Very busy times for both girls and mom and dad. My biggest discovery this year was I need to be more present at home. Both physically and mentally. I spent much of the last 10 years as a workaholic in corporate roles, then starting my own consulting firm. I pretty much buzzed in and out of the family on a part-time basis. But I realize that Kate will be a 20 year old before I know it, and I was missing these precious moments of discovery. Cuddles, snuggles and laughs. And Todd needs some help in creating those routines that make things run smoothly.
So, I declared more quality time with family, and it has truly been a gift. I created additional office space on the main floor of our home in order to be more plugged-in to the day-to-day events. As a result, I am being more intentional about traveling, how long I can be gone and making sure I plan in family time before and after being away. I feel very strongly about volunteering and have a service-oriented value system. I used to do it all on my own, now I am choosing things we can do as a family when possible, like going to Hurricane Sandy survivors with donations and a heart to help.
In past years I did not think life balance was possible. I have learned much from my Millennial colleagues that assume balance should be part of the employment proposition. Of course there are some compromises in achieving balance. Having an executive salary versus your own firm, prioritizing family, it changes the landscape a bit. And it does not have to be a negative. I started clipping coupons. I saved $38 at the grocery store last week. I used to have a hard time passing by a Gymboree or Kids Gap, but Target has some great clothes for kids. And how many outfits does she actually need at age 6? Going out to lunch is one of my guilty pleasures. And if I am working from home, I can eat leftovers or soup and not starve! Setting priorities and focusing on what is really important makes lifestyle shifts a gradual process and quite doable. Those Sonoma/Napa boutique vineyards were sure fun while it lasted, wonderful memories were created. There are some very decent wines at a reasonable price point. We once belonged to a wine club that was about $100. We recently rediscovered the original Wine of the Month Club for $34! And the wines were really good!
The curse of the younger Baby Boomers, especially we Generation Jonesers who grew up wanting it all and wanting it now. I hear many of us planning our downsizing, minimizing, and prioritizing. Some have burned through 401Ks as the economy dropped, underwater real estate, college tuitions, starting our own businesses and reinventing ourselves. And it’s ok. We are going to have to work until we are 80 anyway! The fiscal cliff. What’s the diff? As if.
So it is about finding something you love. Discovering your gifts, passions, potential. We are not done yet! Not even close! We are resilient. We are flexible. And we are ready for what’s next.
In 2013 I want meaningful work and priceless time with family and friends. God will take care of the rest.
Back to Basics: Don’t Burn Bridges - November 12, 2012
The smallness of this vast world amazes me. It’s almost every day I meet someone that knows someone I know very well. Baltimore/ DC metro is a BIG place. Almost 8.5 million people! Three major airports. It is the heartbeat of our nation’s power. And yet it is so small. My HR/OD/Coaching background shrinks the size a bit, but we are still talking A LOT of people!
I recently worked a trade show and met someone new that had a close relationship with a dear friend. And from an entirely different season of my life.
I used to compare the leadership development community to Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-and more like two degrees if you’ve done a tour at Fannie Mae! And the coaching community is so generous and connected that it is commonplace to run into one another along the way.
My dad and mentor would constantly reinforce ‘Network, network, network.” Being relationship-oriented, this was never a big problem for me. I am genuinely interested in what people do, how they think, what motivates and zaps them. And I also learned early on that when you are changing jobs, whether it’s a new company, a promotion or a lateral – don’t go ‘lame duck.’ You know, the phenomenon of a complete lack of energy, interest and engagement in the current work for being distracted by moving on and the new work. Those left behind remember how you were on your way out the door, and you just never know when your paths might cross again.
Some hardwiring early in my career was not to burn any bridges. You can’t always influence if people like you, but as you move on to your next adventure, be sure you don’t give anyone a reason to gossip about how you left. You never know who you are going to meet that knows the people you have known in another ‘life’ or worked for at that place.
I was at another trade show where I saw people I hadn’t seen in 10-15 years. Back in the day, a couple of them were fairly nasty towards me and others at work. It was almost comical to see how interested they were in my firm and how I might be able to help them, or introduce them to people I know. It’s much easier to do favors for people that you care about.
In my Leading Millennials workshop, we discuss the business basic to not burn any bridges if possible. You just don’t know who knows someone you know, and you cannot control what they say. So have them say good things! I have had some surprising lessons about this, thinking you had a good relationship with someone and their story about you was different than what you expect.
Leverage social networking for your professional image. I see many Millennials with active Twitter and Facebook practices for their personal life, and not much for their professional presence. Linked In is the Facebook for business. You get to control the content and most recruiters will look to see if you are there. Keep in touch with people. Say hello just because, not when you need something from them. And many background checks now request Facebook and Twitter account names and passwords so they can check your character off hours.
- Don’t be a lame duck
- Watch burning bridges
When you meet someone new, imagine what you want them to be saying about you 10 years from now as you work that first impression. You’ll be shocked how quickly 10 years fly by.