As a successful leader, you may think you have all the mentors you need.  While I encourage my clients to take advantage of internal advisors, I also recommend putting together a personal board of directors from outside your current organization.  Like external coaches, outside directors have no agenda but yours.

What is the value?

Imagine this scenario: you have a tough decision to make about the strategic direction of your business.  You have done the analysis and sought input from trusted internal colleagues, but you could really use a safe sounding board.  You call your personal board members and give them a brief overview of the issues and your conclusions.  Their suggestions give you valuable perspective because you know they are objective.

Who can help?

In order to get the most balanced viewpoint, I recommend that you consider at least two successful professionals with similar and two with different expertise and experience than your own. You want people who will give you constructive feedback and who are willing to invest time in understanding your business issues.  Objectivity is critical, so close friends may not be the best choice.

How should you ask?

Explain what you want from your directors, how often you expect to meet or talk and how long you want them to serve on your personal board. Although personal board members aren’t typically paid, consider what you can do for them. Recommending them to potential customers or passing on business leads is always appreciated.

How Often Should We Meet?

If possible, get all your directors together in person or by conference call at least once a year to review your business plan and take advantage of their collective wisdom.  I suggest talking with individual board members at least quarterly and more often as needed.  Send any relevant information in advance and be prepared with a succinct summary of the issues and your questions.

Keep Them Informed

Let your directors know what you decide to do and the results you achieved.  Be sure to thank them for their input.

I invite you to identify potential candidates for your personal board of directors and talk with them about how they can be a part of your career success.

 

 

Do you have any trouble springing forward when the time changes?  It is a challenge for most of us to adjust to that kind of change.   I see many clients struggling to respond with resilience, especially to changes over which they feel they have no control.  In a corporate culture that values mental toughness, it can be perceived as whining if we voice concerns about a reorganization or a new assignment.

I have been working with a client who was frustrated by organizational changes.  He felt ambushed since he wasn’t involved in the decisions and was struggling to get past his resentment.  This is the approach we used:

  • Don’t take it personally – take yourself out of the equation and look at it from the perspective of others.  What are the possible reasons that you weren’t consulted on the decisions?
  • Manage your response – assess your emotional reaction and then decide how to respond rationally.
  • Spring forward with resilience – create motivation for yourself by taking action.  Once you do something to move forward you will be less likely to hold on to your resistance to the change.

Contact me at cheryl@csbryan.com to explore how you can spring forward.

 

 

What are the differences between leading from your head, your gut and your heart?

What Got You Here

Many of my clients are technically oriented leaders in operations, finance, accounting and IT. They were trained to trust their intellect and have typically been rewarded for doing so. Somewhere along the career path, they were advised to “trust their gut.” It takes a great deal of confidence for an intellectual to make that leap, but it is part of progressing to the executive level. Senior executives must analyze information at a high level and make decisions that have major impact on the business and employees.

Won’t Get You There

I invite you to consider that the next evolution at the executive level is trusting your heart. You can rely on your intellect and your gut only to a point, and then you have to tap into the emotional realm. If you ignore that feeling of regret or sadness when you have to cut staff, it makes you less human. True leaders acknowledge their feelings while making the tough decisions. Trusting your heart will also enable you to know what motivates your team. More than money and title, they likely want to have a purpose, feel valued and contribute to the greater good.

How will you go beyond leading from your head and your gut to leading from your heart?

Does this sound familiar?  The team is brainstorming with the boss and she says, “That’s a great idea but…”  She can’t resist adding her 2 cents.  I see it happen in team building sessions and it completely changes the direction of the discussion. The team learns that the boss doesn’t value their ideas so they won’t waste time coming up with any.  They also aren’t nearly as enthusiastic about implementing her ideas as they would be their own.

It’s Not About You

I have a client who is almost always the smartest person in the room.  It is really difficult for him to wait for his team members to figure things out on their own.  Once he realized that giving them the answer inhibited their learning and development, he took a different approach.  He practiced asking questions that helped them see different perspectives and possibilities and allowed them to learn from their mistakes.  Without jeopardizing the business, he gave them the freedom they needed to come up with their own ideas.

Try This Instead

The more senior you are in the organization, the more important it is to help others be successful.  How can you be sure you’re doing that?

• Stop before you speak – is your 2 cents really going to add more than detract?
• Encourage your team to come up with their own ideas – and to try a few
• Practice patience – know that they aren’t going to get it right every time

If you are struggling with holding on to your 2 cents, let’s talk about how coaching can help. Contact me cheryl@csbryan.com

 

 

A recent 360 feedback process for several technically accomplished individuals confirmed that these clients need to be like chameleons adapting to different environments.  Although they are most comfortable with a detailed, analytical communication style, they must improve their ability to provide a high level overview to senior executive audiences and a more general approach for non-technical colleagues.

Adapt to Your Audience

Adapting your style to your environment enhances the way your audience sees and hears you. These key steps will ensure that your message is well-received in both formal and informal settings:

• Learn as much as possible about your audience, whether it’s one person or a group
• Ask someone who knows them for advice on what is most effective
• Review your presentation with a trusted advisor who can give you valuable feedback
• Adjust the level of detail accordingly
• Follow up to confirm that your message was understood

Try something different in your next discussion or presentation, notice how it is received and make changes for next time.

After listening to a friend explain why she wasn’t pursuing a job opportunity that would enhance her career, I commented, “If you’re willing to settle for less than what you deserve, that’s all you will get.”  A look of resignation crossed her face and she said, “You’re right.”  She committed to resisting the temptation to make a move just to escape her current situation.

What about you?  Are you settling for less than what you deserve in your career?

  • Do you need to reevaluate your priorities and dedicate yourself to getting what you want instead of settling for what you can get?
  • Are you clear about what you want?
  • What resources do you need and how will you get them?
  • What are the potential obstacles you might encounter and how will you handle them?
  • Who will support you in this process?

I encourage you to commit to getting what you deserve.  To explore this further, contact me cheryl@csbryan.com.