Attitude Is Everything

lifebugs

 

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela

Last year I followed a specific pattern for my posts to cover the life experiences that influenced my value system and led to the career I have today. I have decided that for this year my posts will also follow a pattern and the focus will be on attitude and how it can influence your life and how you lead it.

This decision came after reading the following article.

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”

She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.

2. Free your mind from worries.

3. Live simply.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less

By: Ripple Kindness Project

I am going to take these five rules seriously and hope that you will as well. Look for more of my thoughts on attitude as 2014 unfolds. Happy New Year!

Asking The Right Questions

“My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions. ”
Peter Drucker

http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Intelligence/Be-a-Winner-by-Asking-Power-Questions-522705/?kc=EWKNLCSM05152012STR2

 When I saw some of the questions posed with this link, I was embarrassed to see that several, well okay many, of them I have asked.  As you probably already know I love to read. I am working my way through a few books (more on them next week), but I could not resist sharing this one that I have not read. It was good to learn that there is a more effective way to ask these same questions. In my position, I have the opportunity to interact with many different levels of executives and am frequently in awe of how they can so articulately present themselves and ask pertinent questions. This book, Power Questions, by Sobol and Panas looks like it might be my key to more effective communication or at least an interesting read.

I have included a short overview of the book below.

“An arsenal of powerful questions that will transform every conversation

Skillfully redefine problems. Make an immediate connection with anyone. Rapidly determine if a client is ready to buy. Access the deepest dreams of others. Power Questions sets out a series of strategic questions that will help you win new business and dramatically deepen your professional and personal relationships. The book showcases thirty-five riveting, real conversations with CEOs, billionaires, clients, colleagues, and friends. Each story illustrates the extraordinary power and impact of a thought-provoking, incisive power question. To help readers navigate a variety of professional challenges, over 200 additional, thought-provoking questions are also summarized at the end of the book.

In Power Questions you’ll discover:

  • The question that stopped an angry executive in his tracks
  • The sales question CEOs expect you to ask versus the questions they want you to ask
  • The question that will radically refocus any meeting
  • The penetrating question that can transform a friend or colleague’s life
  • A simple question that helped restore a marriage

When you use power questions, you magnify your professional and personal influence, create intimate connections with others, and drive to the true heart of the issue every time.”

I welcome your thoughts on asking power questions. Will you volunteer to read the book and let me know if it should be on my priority reading list? Or maybe just watch the slide show from the link and confess as I did that you too have asked these questions.

Being A Doer

 Last week I said I should title this “the good, the bad, and the ugly,” but decided that this would not do justice to the strengths of the Doer.   I did, however, want to pay homage to the nick name (Taz) that my daughter gave me many years ago.  After yet another stress filled morning getting three teenagers off to school, did I say they were all girls? My daughter started calling me Taz. This was probably due to my frenzied flinging of school books, lunch bags, cans of hair spray, and various articles of unmentionable clothing that were strewn about the house. All of this as I had to fight for the bathroom to get ready for work and eat my breakfast on the run. You can easily see how I earned my name and of course why my pants were often on backwards.

 I would like to say that I am different in my work life than I am at home, but when the pressure of work projects looms out comes the Taz in me.   As you know from my earlier blog, we Doer’s get a lot done, but sometimes at the expense of dead bodies left in our wake. 

When brought to our attention that we may have caused a bit of an issue as we voraciously chewed through a problem, we Doer’s are usually confused as to why anyone is upset because after all we did get the job done. And very quickly at that! So all Doer’s be forewarned while you may accomplish a lot you need to keep the battlefield clear of bodies.

ImageNow in case you think that I am a real “piece of work,” please remember that I am not a Doer all of the time just when I am under pressure. When I am working along as I am today just getting things done at a normal pace, I am really a thinker. I had plenty of time to get ready for work this morning (the girls are all grown and gone) and my pants have that knife-edge crease in them. I am operating in my best thinker mode pondering all the different detailed ways to write this blog and get my points across. As you can tell, I do love pictures and still identify with the Taz.

ImageI’d like to also add that when the conditions are very favorable I can switch into my Feeler mode.  This is when I walk around the office and chat with folks and find out how they are doing, what their children are up to, and maybe even invite someone to walk across the street for a Starbuck’s. More on this next week as I share a bit about the Feelers among us. Perhaps I should dub them more politically correctly and call them the “Connectors.”

What’s Your Style?

Any of us who have been in a management position for a few years have probably experienced some type of “personality styles” training and assessment. Whether it is the Myers- Briggs test, the ITDF test or something else, we should by now know our style. What I’m going to try to do in this missive and over the next couple of weeks is share with you my experiences when working with individuals who have each of the ITDF (see my definitions below) predominate styles.

I’ve based this on what I consider to have been the best training I had early in my management career. What the assessment associated with this training did was point out that while we may have a predominate style we actually might have two predominate styles, one under favorable conditions and one that might be vastly different when under stress. The importance of this should be understood, because it could make you look slightly schizophrenic. An example of this was a former manager of mine who had two very different styles and to make it more challenging his styles were the exact opposite of mine. Well, needless to say, he thought I was crazy and I felt the same about him.  That was not a recipe for a good working relationship. We were both fortunate to have taken the styles assessments and management training at the same time. I will never forget when he turned to me and said “well I guess you’re not crazy after all.” We were able to move forward from there to have a very productive professional relationship. I learned how to read the signs that he was under stress and approach him accordingly – I will also say that this was very uncomfortable for me at first because my natural inclination was to give him the exact opposite of what he needed – in this case he wanted all of the facts and details when under stress and I was inclined to want to move very quickly and just give him the bottom line with no supporting details – made perfect sense to me.

With that as background, the styles as I define them are listed below with a bit of how I look at their definition. Now remember, most people are not completely one style, but are usually predominately one under each condition – favorable or stress.  Next week I will give you my story about working with a pure Innovator.

Can you see yourself below?

Innovator

  • Head in the clouds with lots of great ideas.
  • Always looking for new ways to accomplish things.
  • Stays at high level – does not live for the details
  • Anything is possible and it’s all quick and easy
  • Toys all over their desk
  • Might forget to put on their pants

Thinker

  • Loves to plan things
  • Very task oriented
  • Very precise and detailed
  • Always has a clean desk
  • Pants pressed with a crease that could cut butter

Doer

  • Quick to react
  • Takes ownership
  • Accomplishes lots of simultaneous tasks
  • Messy desk covered with papers
  • Pants on backwards

Feeler

  • Has many Friends
  • Is energized by meeting new people
  • Will always ask you how you are doing and really cares
  • Has pictures, plants, and flowers on the desk
  • Will give you their pants

Keep you pants on, more to come next week.