Category: Human Resources

What are you choosing to pay attention to?

If there is a sudden loud sound, your awareness will immediately focus there. Your inner thoughts can capture your attention in a slightly different, yet still commanding, way. They too get pulled toward what distracts us most. Unlike an external loud noise where we identify the source and then move on, with internal loud noise, it is often difficult to steer your focus away from the hypothetical issue, which quickly turns into worry.   

Thoughts have weight – they can pull you down.  Thoughts have height – they can lift you up.  Thoughts have length – they can last a lifetime.   What direction are you allowing your thoughts to take you?

Worry is, sadly, an inevitability of life.  However, worry is rarely productive – so it’s crucial you not allow yourself to sit in that state for long.  Treat those thoughts just like an external loud sound- identify its source, release it from your memory and move on. 

Every time you’re pulled into unproductive thoughts, that’s the precise moment you need to relax and release.  Here is how:

  • Identify the thought – Is it good or bad?
  • Observe how it makes you feel – Optimistic or pessimistic?
  • Dispute the thought – Does this thought serve me well?
  • Come up with an alternative (and more accurate) way of looking at what happened.

Now you know…

“I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better.” -Maya Angelou

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What do you see?

What about work has been weighing most heavily on your mind? 

Maybe it is a challenge, a change, or a struggle you find yourself in.  Now hold that thought and pause for a moment.  Reflect on it. 

If you are like the rest of us, human, then your answer was fixated on limitations and/or obstacles.  Rather than feeling a sense of progress, you feel stuck – Right?

“We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear. Our belief system is just like a mirror that only shows us what we believe.” –  Don Miguel Ruiz

What a profoundly simple yet simply profound concept.  Whatever it is that weighs most on your mind, just observe the situation without trying to solve it.  Silence the analytical judging mind so you can be in a state of wonder and curiosity.  Your focus begins to shift away from the obstacles and towards possible opportunities. Right?   

Always know that every dip and rise in the roller coaster of life holds opportunities.  You just need to tell yourself so – because, you see what you want to see. 

The goal of this message is to give you something more useful than answers…the ability to arrive at your own answers. Life will always have uncertainties and challenges.  The key to thriving, both personally and professionally, lies in what you choose to see in such trying moments.      

You are able.  You are capable. 

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Want to become highly resilient and super happy?

It’s summer!

A magical season where us northerners come out of winter hibernation (being indoors) and soak up the sun.  Whether you prefer a trip to the mountains or a trip to the beach, we tend to view the next several months as a time to recharge ourselves.

 

CAUTION:  Summer is temporary.  Being resilient and able to recharge yourself should not be.

 

 

Here is my challenge:  Right now, invest less than 20 minutes, pull up and watch two short videos.  The links are below…

I can guarantee that these will forever change how you recharge for resilience and happiness.

Will you accept this challenge?

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What makes the most successful teams truly tick?

Many of the best teams – the ones that deliver results, wow customers, and always hit their goal – share a few key traits:

  1. They share a common promise for a customer.
  2. They coordinate action to fulfill that promise.
  3. They take care of each other.

low angle photo of people doing huddle up
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

When each team member understands their role in the big picture, great things happen.  They share a common promise, meaning there is unified agreement on the objectives and how each individual brings a unique set of skills to the mission at hand.

Teams coordinate to fulfill a promise always looking toward the end goal.  When they have healthy relationships consisting of high-quality interaction, characterized by trust, open communication, and a willingness to embrace “constructive” conflict – they become great.  These teams willingly assume and embrace both personal and shared responsibility for fulfilling their common promise.

They take care of each other – the environment is supportive, open, and expressive.  Make no mistake, successful teams don’t agree on everything.  When disagreements arise, they tackle them in a respectful and constructive way, with appreciation for the ideas, skills, and perceptions of their team members.

In our professional life teamwork plays a vital role.  We engage with and depend on others to accomplish virtually every task.  Don’t leave it to chance, follow the formula above (the three traits) and be part of a great team!

What will you personally do to help improve your team for the better?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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How many hours will you work in a lifetime?

A quick Google search will reveal that we can expect to spend 90,360 hours on the job, working.  That is 1/3 of our lives!  How do you spend each of those hours?  Are you engaged in what you do?  Another Google search, and you will find that 70% of U.S. employees are not engaged by their jobs.  The scary fact is that 7 in 10 people are exhausting 1/3 of their lives slogging into a job feeling stuck on a treadmill of emptiness.  Sounds nonsensical, right?

While there are numerous aspects to fulfilling work that engages our hearts and minds, I pose that it boils down to one essential factor – purpose.  The desire for purposeful work is a fundamental human need.  It is a need just like love and belonging.  When we lack a sense of purpose in our jobs we disengage; we join the masses stuck on that treadmill of emptiness.

steps

First step:

My advice is that you start infusing your work with purpose immediately!  Identify with your company’s mission.  If you can’t or don’t then it is time to seek out a truer calling (employer/job).  A role that has you working towards a big picture.  One that brings fulfillment to you and the many others your job will impact.

Second step:

If you DO identify with your organization’s overreaching mission…Take two minutes each afternoon to think of one purposeful moment you had that day. If you do this for a month you will find that you are doing more things everyday that bring you purpose and that you also come to appreciate them more and more.

Know that the possibilities of creating purpose in your work/job are vast and growing.  Start with the big picture (mission) then work backwards tying meaning to every task.

Make that 1/3 of your life worthwhile…make it count…start today what you should have started yesterday…ACT!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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I welcome you joining my tribe on Twitter @JimCarchidi

 

 

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Why over 80% fail: Sound Familiar?

New Year’s resolutions often never materialize…

According to a U.S. News report, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.  Have you ever wondered why?

habits 2Personally, I believe this to be a direct result of people not setting and sticking with simple daily disciplines.  It’s the little choices, when compounded over time, that either get us closer to our goals or pull us further away from them.  The impact of those choices, for better or for worse, determine our path and ultimately the end results.

“The things you do every single day – the things that don’t look dramatic – that don’t even look like they matter, do matter. They not only make a difference – they make all the difference.” – Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

Jeff Olson’s assertion makes perfect, logical sense; that simple daily productive actions make the difference between failure and success.  It’s like a bank account where every little daily choice is either a deposit or a withdrawal. For example, want to lose weight?  Commit to just 5 sit-ups and 5 push-ups each morning just before hopping in the shower.  Want to learn more and expand your expertise?  Rather than waking up and watching the news or checking social media, read just 5 pages of a book – on professional development.)

You might be asking yourself, “Could such little actions like reading 5 pages and/or doing 5 push-ups each morning make such a massive impact on my life?”  I am here to tell you -YES!  I know this to be true because it has made a lasting difference in my own life.  When facing long terms goals, approach them with simple daily activities.  Create these little daily disciplines and you will ultimately reach those year-end resolutions!

Ask yourself, “What would my life be like today if last January I had changed just one simple thing?”  The choice is yours!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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How do you see yourself?

Blog post written by Amber Sutphen, Financial Recruiter, JFC Global

This year, when I was asked to be part of the Professional Development class, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Prior to this class, professional development was something I was doing without even thinking about it. Now I’ve been given the opportunity to take charge of my professional development and look at it from a much deeper perspective.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton

cat_sees_lion_in_mirrorAs a member of this class, we are asked to evaluate ourselves. Using the book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” we have been taking time out of each class to delve into different strategies to improve our emotional intelligence (EQ). We have learned that developing our soft-skills and managing how we react to different situations is a huge part of professional development.

One section of the book focuses on Self Awareness which is “having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation and emotions.” Before this class, I didn’t spend much time thinking about this topic. Throughout the day I’m being pulled in different directions, handling multiple job orders and going light speed.  I never really took the opportunity to check in with myself.

At the start of this class, I decided I would begin writing in a journal. I try to write in it almost every day and overall it has been a very positive experience. If you are wondering how to go about emotional journal writing, here are some tips:

  • Find a special spot that is neat, clean and comfortable
  • Before writing, allow yourself to relax and to reflect. Ask yourself: What did I do today? How did it make me feel? What lessons did I learn?
  • When ready, start writing. Don’t be too critical. No one is judging.

The process of writing down my feelings and what is going on in my life has given me a clearer picture of my emotions. It has allowed me to become more mindful and more in-tune with myself.

Sure, there are days when I don’t feel like writing, but what I’ve found is that even when I don’t feel like it, I am always glad I did. It is interesting to reflect back on my day and also to look back at entries I made.  I plan to continue with it, and it will be cool when I can look back a year, two years ago, etc.

There are a ton of benefits to emotional journal writing! It can definitely relieve stress. It also serves as a reminder of some mistakes you’ve made, moments you want to remember, and accomplishments you are proud of. It forces you to be aware of your actions and behaviors. It can also turn into your own personal brainstorming session where you come up with new ideas that open up the door to new possibilities.

If you have ever considered starting a journal, my advice is to do it! It will give you the ability to see the big picture. It is a great tool that could help you achieve higher self-awareness and continue to develop in both your professional career and personal life.

Happy writing!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

 

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Separation: It’s good for problem solving

It turns out that the advice Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) gave Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) in the 1991 hit movie “What about Bob?” was more than the premise of a funny movie. In the comedy, therapist Dr. Marvin tells patient Bob Wiley to “take a vacation from his problems”.

And sure enough while on vacation Wiley finds the answers to his greatest problems.

What about BobWe have all been stumped by a problem at work that seemingly has no answer to it.  In that moment we conclude that we have approached it from every angle, and yet there is no apparent solution.

During those pressure cooker moments, we find ourselves in the weeds – no longer seeing the forest through the trees.  Our minds become hyper focused on what’s in front of us and begin to shut down.  We tell ourselves, “I will just work longer nights at the office…or…I can cut out my morning walks and come in earlier.”

More often than not, this is the wrong approach.

Our professional lives are routinely interrupted by extraordinary challenges; those by which we no longer see light at the end of the tunnel.  It seems counter-intuitive but this is when you should create space and distance yourself from the problem.  Don’t take it from me, take it from NASA.

In 1993 NASA suffered extra pressure and great stress when the Hubble Space Telescope broke down.  They faced a daunting task of figuring out how to go up in space and fix the distorted mirror inside the telescope.  For months the brightest minds in NASA couldn’t identify a solution.

Then one day NASA engineer, Jim Crocker, was taking a shower in a hotel and noticed how the shower head was mounted on adjustable rods with folding arms.  Eureka!  The answer did not appear while working late hours in the lab.  It occurred when Jim was in the shower on vacation, when he created space (no pun intended) from the perplexity of his problem.

Why does creating space work?

Your brain is like any muscle in your body.  Imagine lifting weights multiple times per week but only on biceps.  Doing so will surely strain and fatigue those muscles.  Thus, when you are consumed by constantly tackling the same challenge at work, you actually lose mental energy needed to identify solutions.  This is when it’s time to create space!

Let me be perfectly clear.  I am not suggesting you kick the can down the road and embrace avoidance. That will simply create additional problems. But like Bob Wiley, or Jim Crocker, you may find answers to your greatest problem when you take a vacation from the problem.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Emerging Workers Meet Dr. Sheldon Cooper

Manage emotional culture for survival and growth…

“Do what we tell you and get a paycheck, healthcare, and retirement bucks. Do that long enough and eventually you’ll tell others around here what to do: Maybe everyone.” Those are the rules, right? That’s what you learned from the punches, and battle-scars that the hardest work and sharpest focus invited on your trip toward the C-Suite.

Okay, maybe when you strip away the context, that’s a little Sheldon Cooper-ish. Sheldon Cooper? You know the Ph.D. from Big Bang Theory who’s floating in an Asperger bubble which deafens him to either his own or other people’s emotions. Dr. Cooper is a highly functioning autistic who’s immersion in a super-specialized field of interest obscures what drives other people.

dr-sheldon-cooper-quotes

Fact is, that model worked. It was a paradigm for enterprise cultures that prospered because they laser-focused upon serving markets by creating goods and services in return for gold. This revenue provided paychecks, healthcare, and retirement bucks.

So? What’s changed?

Employees are increasingly becoming a market that enterprises must also please. Otherwise they lose access to the STEM technicians and specialized management professionals who allow an enterprise to serve customers with their goods and services. As the labor markets have moved away from a demand from brawn to a necessity for brain… Well, Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s begun to realize that the emotional drives of his colleagues are now part of succeeding in the super-specialized field of interest which defines modern market competition.

Increasingly labor-force entrants with productive skills want something more out of a job and especially management.  Too quickly their appetites have been stereotyped by the Sheldon Cooper myopia of the past which dismisses these emerging workers as solely interested in trophies, instant gratification, or fast-tracking to the top. Their emotional cravings for flex-time, telecommuting, social significance, family time, interesting objectives, meaningful tasks, and continual feedback leave Sheldon Cooper cultures muttering… “These kids are good for nothing! They… they… don’t know the meaning of hard work!” Sound about right?

Shhhhh… Hear that? It’s the din of cultures clashing!

Look, the reality is not that younger generations are a challenge to hire and manage.  Instead, too many executive suites have the wrong core belief about managing emerging workers. And being wrong about that core belief means every subsequent decision only makes things worse because every decision is ultimately tied to that belief.

Successful enterprise cultures must evolve and adapt with the workforce or risk irrelevance.  After all, executives demand similar flexibility to the demands of their product markets, right? The reality is that the Millennials and Generation Y who characterize the emerging workforce are not the problem: Sheldon Cooper’s the problem.  Too many of us manage in a narrow tunnel walled off from the emotional culture we create.  Increasingly we must focus upon how employees feel: Yes, the emotional drivers.

Adaptive enterprise cultures are learning to identify, use, understand and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome internal challenges, and defuse conflicts. Succinctly, they learn to read their community’s signals and react appropriately to them. All of which are the components of effective EQ management. Meaning they are pricking the Sheldon Cooper Asperger bubble.  They’re synthesizing that traditional management driver with the aspirations of emerging workers. This for relevancy in a world that blurs self gratification on the job with gratifications from ideals, families, and self awareness.

Is this affordable? Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace Poll” found that 70% of the nation’s employees are disengaged at work.  They estimate that these disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion each year in lost productivity.  A “Global Workforce Study” by Towers Watson showed only 48% of employees report that their top management is doing a good job of providing effective leadership. In the face of those sorts of metrics, is the Sheldon model still affordable, particularly in a world of out-sourcing, and off-shoring? Is it cost-efficient in a world of market competition without borders?

This is not some soft kumbaya movement.  It’s real and the emerging workers are more mindful of it than most in today’s C suite.  It’s unfortunate given the critical importance of emotional culture that EQ is rarely managed if managed at all. Unfortunate since it influences soft measures like employee engagement but also the hard measures like retaining top talent and financial performance.

Most of us over thirty years of age have barely heard of emotional intelligence (EQ).  Raised in a Sheldon Cooper business culture we were never shown that feelings are primary drivers of behavior and thus we’ve ignored the drive of key emerging workers to shop for the employers who make deliberate attempts to harness this concept.  In the increasingly competitive market for high-productivity talent, enterprises need to grow attention to emotional intelligence (EQ) and its effect on both the front and bottom lines.

It starts at the top, the executive suite.  The old ways might still get you compliance but they will never let you maximize the productivity of focused attentions and commitment.  Disregarding the feelings of others makes employees insensitive and indifferent.  Which will permeate out to customers causing dominos to fall – turnover (employee and customer) creates a costly clatter.

Executives who invest in their EQ management are in fact investing in the overarching emotional culture of their company.  Their front line employees blossom out of happiness and pride rather than wilt from boredom and anxiety.  They perform to higher levels so the customers receive more positive experiences nurturing both profitability and growth.

EQ is the cure to Dr. Cooper’s management Asperger’s. Or at least it’s strategically dialing down the profit-distracting din of colliding cultures.

Article originally published in Lancaster Business2Business Magazine February 2016

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Get your psychological well-being on!

Well-beingEverybody wants and deserves a sense of relatedness in life. It is a human need, not something to be turned off or on between home and work.  Think about it.  You can’t divorce one from the other; the two worlds are dramatically interconnected.

Healthy relationships are fundamental to our success in life. When they are absent at work, our potential is limited.

Be mindful of the influence you have on your peers’ psychological well-being.  Make a conscious effort to facilitate a culture of connectedness.  I guarantee that doing so will bring joy to both yours and their personal and professional life.

Work should be a place where friendships are created; people can go home fulfilled, and they can inspire their friends/family.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

 

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