My Upcoming Events for Eastern Ontario


I will be hosting the following Executive Showcase events featuring LMI Canada’s Effective Personal Productivity process.  This process is helping thousands around the world get better results in their business and personal lives.  Click the links to learn more about the specific program.  Send me an email to mbonn@lmicanada.ca to set up a meeting to discuss the details.

 

2014 August 28 – Belleville OntarioEPP

2014 October 8 – Ottawa Ontario

2014 November 20 – Belleville Ontario

 

Want Solutions? Ask the Right Questions.


If I have to inform you of a problem and I know you will ask me a series of questions about why it happened, I will prepare by coming up with a series of explanations and rationalizations to justify the problem.qmark master

If I have to inform you of a problem and I know you will ask me a series of questions about how to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again, I will prepare by coming up with a list of possible solutions.

Are you asking the right questions?

Image courtesy of Master / www.digitalphotos.net

The Turning Point Myth


As a society, we love to talk about turning points.

TPoint_Stoonn2That single moment in time when the momentum changes.

There is no such thing.

The notion of a turning point, creates an unrealistic expectation that all we have to do is decide to make the change we want and then continue as we were.

Change doesn’t result from one decision to change.  It results from a continuous series of decisions and actions that confirm our commitment to the change. It doesn’t end. We decide, act, decide and act again.  And we have to decide and act in more ways that support the change than in ways that do not.

What do you want to change? Are you committed to making the necessary decisions, again and again and again?  And again?          And again?

Image courtesy Stoonn / http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

The River


  kayak georgestojkovic

Image courtesy George Stojkovic www.freedigitalphotos.net

 You were put in a canoe and given a paddle.

That’s it.

     When you paddle, you go upstream. When you stop paddling, you go downstream.

    Sometimes the current is strong, sometimes it is almost non-existent. It’s always there.

You can’t control the current.

All you have is a paddle. Sometimes your stroke is strong and efficient.  Sometimes it’s weak and sloppy.

You can learn to paddle better.  You control how and when you paddle.

The river meanders. The river switches back.  The river goes on and on.

You can’t control the river.

You can try to paddle to areas of weak current. You can try to avoid the eddies. You can try to steer clear of the rocks.

If you are stronger than the river, you control where you paddle.

The weather is sometimes brilliant. The weather is sometimes miserable.

You can adapt to the weather. You can’t control it.

All you can do is decide how far upstream you want to go.

And paddle.

Get Started.


Human inertia.  It’s that inner hesitation that stops me from pouncing on my latest idea and running with it.  It’s a mixed bag of fear, insecurity, awe, trepidation, ignorance, analysis and a multitude of other emotions and feelings which keep me from just jumping in and figuring it out.

I find it interesting because I know that this inertia sometimes holds me back from accomplishing big things and from experiencing great joy.  Yet, sometimes it wins, I never get started.

I know the most satisfying projects, events, moments in my life whether they be personal or business-related have come when I pushed through the human inertia, got out of my comfort zone and made myself figure it out – whatever “it” was.  It’s when I’ve been most creative, most excited, and most enthusiastic.  It’s also when I’ve been the most serious, most hard-nosed, and when I’ve been most committed to the task at hand.  And it’s also when I’ve felt the best.

Take this blog.  It was tough to get started.  There were so many questions – where does one get one of these blogs? What should it look like? What will I write about?  Who will read it?  Will it be any good?  What if no one is interested? What if I say something really stupid?  How often should I post? If I don’t post enough will that look bad? Finally, I just told myself to get started.

And here it is.  It’s not the best blog in the world, but it’s getting better. It’s not the prettiest blog, but I’m researching how to improve the look. I’ve changed the name once, and may do so again.  I still don’t think I’ve fully found my “voice” but it’s getting refined. The important thing is I got started, and now, I know lots about blogging.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I view things.  I’ve had almost 600 views and had some pretty nice compliments. I find now, I feel great when I’ve written something I like – regardless of how many views it gets.  I’m more confident, I’m having fun with it and I get great satisfaction from making each post.  I’m also keen to find new ideas and write about them.

How many situations in life are like this?  We know if we push ourselves that little bit to get past the human inertia, off we’ll go – we’ll learn something new, we’ll improve, we’ll find a way.  And the rewards will be great. We just need to trust ourselves, and get started.

 

Defining the Work


If you manage people, I’d like you to consider the following.

1. What work are they paid to do? (Focus on the results you want, not the tasks they do)

2. At the end of the  week, month, quarter or year how do you know if the work is done?

3. At the end of the  week, month, quarter or year how do you measure how well it was done?

4. If you asked your staff these same questions, would they give you the same answers?

If your answer to number 4 is not a clear Yes, try this exercise.  Write out your answers to 1-3, then have your staff do the same thing.  Compare the answers.

Clarify as necessary until you agree upon exactly what results the company or organization is paying them for.  Now, start managing them by their success at getting the agreed upon results.

By defining and agreeing upon expected results, your performance reviews will be more about development needs for improved results and less about perceptions and personalities.

On Transparency


I believe that organizations and people operate best when their values are known, their actions are consistent with these values and information and results are communicated freely.  This is what transparency means to me.

Here is why I think it’s so important.

1. Creates accountability. When everyone in an organization has access to information, they can assess  effectiveness of activities, challenge the status quo and offer ideas for improvement.

2. Allows people to focus on actual results instead of speculating on what might be happening. This is huge. How much time and energy is wasted debating what might improve a process, when people don’t have accurate data to tell them how the process is performing in the first place.

3. Creates credibility for individuals when everyone can see the results of their activities.

4. Creates trust when people have free access to data and they see that decisions are made based on the data.  They can also determine if the decisions are consistent with objectives and values communicated.

5. Creates loyalty.  When people are confident they are being told the truth, whether good or bad, they are grateful for the trust being put in them and are more likely to stick around through tough times.

6. Prevents corruption.  So many examples to consider, but think about how many government and business scandals would have been avoided if people were open and transparent in their professional activities. Watch this TED talk for more.

I think that, often, managers aren’t sure how some information will be perceived so they just feel safer in not communicating it at all.  My experience has shown me time and again that this strategy inevitably blows up, creating worse perceptions, AND creates ten times more work later when trying to manage the message once information has gotten out anyway.  No matter how bad the news, people are remarkably understanding as long as they can believe the motivations behind any actions were consistent with the values and goals previously communicated.  They way I see it transparency gives people the freedom to use their creativity and ingenuity to find better solutions to problems instead of using them to cover up mistakes and “manage the message”.