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Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

Getting to “NEXT”

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Q: I’m an intrapreneur in my company. I come up with and execute revenue-producing ideas with little risk to me personally. But when a great idea goes bust, I have a hard time shirking it and moving on. I think this tendency will come to bite me when I’m my own boss someday. Transitioning is hard, what to do?  Dan R. Toronto, Canada

“Transitioning” has a broad definition. For those who have the gift of hyperfocus, breaking away from one activity to move on to something else is challenging. You know you need to stop, but you need a team of wild horses to drag you to the next activity. Others need lots of time to stop thinking about one task so as to start thinking about the next task. For example, you may find yourself in a meeting with your accountant, and as he points out the numbers, your “guy in the basement” (see blog from 5-8-18) is still stuck on the design of your packaging.

Dan’s transitioning concern is about moving on emotionally from a failed project to a new idea. Even though he experienced no personal financial loss, the time spent grieving, blaming and shaming wastes time and energy. Lots of hands go up when you ask founders if they know what Dan is going through. One solution is to step back and examine the situation like a scientist peering into a microscope − what went wrong and how you can avoid these mistakes the next time around.  Common missteps to avoid in your next project include:

  • communication failures between persons and departments
  • no “walk through” period to identify weaknesses or ambiguities in the process
  • identifying persons key to the success of the project who were not suited or not in favor of the project from the start– the stealthy saboteurs
  • a lack of oversight during the rollout; poor monitoring the money, service quality and customer feedback.

Swallow that “jagged little pill” and take responsibility for the failure. Even though others may have contributed to the project’s demise, release your grudges. These persons know who they are, what they did and realize they have let you down. You have learned something new about the people you work with. Be professional and remain cordial. Note that especially in small companies, you may need these folks again in the next project. Perhaps, next time, they’ll step up to the plate.

Emotional self-regulation is a core executive function that every self-starter needs to master. Learn about effective, non-medication ways to manage your emotions and make transitions easier. Contact me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Overwhelmed and Under-delegating?

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

As a leader, delegation is an essential skill for maximizing productivity and managing stress when workloads are large and deadlines are tight. The problem is, many entrepreneurs wait too long to entrust others. This is often where “delegating” gets its bad name.  When you are stressed out you are likely to delegate poorly. Here are a few ways to pass along tasks with greater success:

  1. Start letting go. Create a list of tasks that rank from “can’t/won’t let go” and “can let go.” Get comfortable with passing along the latter list – the routine, low risk tasks that eat up hunks of your valuable time. Eventually, this move will free up time to train others to take on some tasks from the former list, so you can focus on what you do best.
  2. Think about delegation when hiring. Don’t wait for disaster to strike. When you interview candidates it’s good to choose a few players who are fast learners and flexible within a job description. Know each individual’s strengths, weaknesses and range of skills.
  3. Be specific with your instructions. A most common delegating mistake is assuming your “delegatee” understands the task and the outcome. Make the instructions as simple and clear as possible. Some people do better with written vs. oral instructions. Show an example of the ideal outcome. Be clear about deadlines. Avoid having to hover and re-do tasks because of mindless communication.
  4. Hire a competent student. If money is tight, advertise for a “Girl or Boy Friday.” These persons can be low cost interns who just want to shadow or hang around a startup. They are often quite capable (see #3) to take on personal, household and low priority workplace tasks that can save you an immense amount of time.

Delegating is not easy, but often necessary. Think of your time and energy as valuable commodities. From a cost savings perspective (do the math!) it’s cheaper to pay someone less to do a job that costs you more.

Having trouble letting go and getting things done well and on time? Perhaps some Core Four Coaching is in your future. Contact me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Worry Wisdom

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Among the many attributes associated with entrepreneurs, the tendency to worry is high on the list. Worriers, like entrepreneurs tend to be conscientious, ambitious, competitive, and always on the lookout for opportunity.

These positive traits may also associated with problematic characteristics that can endanger one’s ability to lead effectively: hyper-controlling, trouble relaxing and having fun, easily bored, obsessive and, in some cases, paranoid. Furthermore, my clients who endorse chronic worry often have trouble sleeping. In an earlier blog, I mentioned how one’s executive functioning (the ability to get work done, done well and on time) can be compromised without consistent, good quality sleep. There are many ways to manage worry, but these are the ways my clients have found most successful:

1) Choose a time of day (not when you get into bed!) to make a plan(s) for solving the problem(s). Put your plan in writing. Review it when worry creeps in. Worry cowers in the face of a plan.

2) In a non-worry state, create a drop down menu in your mind of other thoughts to shift to when worry sets in. It’s too late to compose this list in the midst of worry. Your menu can include: a great vacation you had, an inspirational article or a lecture, a favorite song you can replay in your mind, the many things you have to be grateful for, etc. Just about anything that is unrelated to your worry should be on the list. It’s important to be able to shift to other thoughts and maintain perspective.

3) Think about how little worry has paid off in the past. How many hours, dollars and days could have been put to better use if you had managed your worry?

4) Share your worries with others. Speaking aloud to a mindful listener helps you separate facts from fiction, be creative, share solutions and derive a plan.

5) Finally, meditate on a quote by Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) a Roman Stoic philosopher, “There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

What solutions to worry have you? I’d love to hear them! Share your ideas with me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com

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