Check Out to Check In

24 Apr

Most of us have heard the advice to “check-in with yourself” … usually a suggestion about something one can do periodically and throughout the day.  Often because we’ve been frantic, juggling, busy … or simply annoying 😉

But it’s hard to really “check in” if we haven’t first “checked out” and cleared a space.  Checking out both physically, but also emotionally, and mentally.  Step back.  Pause.  Gently put your inside chatter and thought and thinking in a box.  Put it aside and check out of that time and space.  And only then …

… Find and sit in a quiet, private place.  Check-in with your whole self.  Scan your body, looking for signals.  Feel your state of being.  Really look at it and experience it.  Notice tension, temperature, heartbeat … just observe what you feel.  If your mind drifts, simply notice the thoughts and let them go, like clouds passing by.  And come back to your center and your being.When ready, note how you’ve been being (in your head, your heart, and your body). Even jot notes in your journal if that’s your practice.  Note what is familiar and what is different or familiar.  Notice what you’ve never noticed before.

We’re All Looking for the As

31 Mar

I like the letter A … my name starts with it … and ends with it.  And we’re all looking for it.  The 4 As, that is:

  • Acceptance
  • Approval
  • Appreciation
  • Applause

It’s that simple.  

And while I’m on the alphabet roll … my suggestion is to avoid the Ms (even though my last name starts with an M):

  • Manipulate
  • Meddle
  • Mother
  • Martyr

It’s that simple too.

I guess I could go on and on elaborating on each … but I’m sure that if you pause for a moment to reflect on it, you’ll find there’s a lot of wisdom behind the simplicity of the AMs.

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

AMinto@trchange.com

LinkedIn.com/in/annaminto

http://www.annaminto.com

Kintsugi To You

26 Feb

Kintsugi, which means “golden joinery,” is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with lacquer dusted powdered gold, silver, or platinum.  Weaving together parts with a golden seam, to create the beautiful whole.

As we journey through life, we’ve all experienced breakages and parts of us that were difficult to experience, or that we wish we had done differently.  The past is the past and we can’t change it; and the future is the future and is not controllable or known.  But in the present, we can reflect on those fragmented pieces, and how they can be put together, to reflect the wholeness of your beautiful you.  After all, we wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t journeyed through our past experiences.

To reflect on this, set aside 60 minutes in a quiet spot (maybe even with some scented candles and soft music), and pull out that reflection journal.   Ask yourself: “What were the toughest parts of my life?”  Write down a handful, or even a dozen.  Include even those experiences you would rather not have happened.  Pause.  Take some deep breaths.  Then ask yourself “How did it contribute to who I am today?” and “What did I learn from it?”  Jot your thoughts down.  Then reflect on the collective thoughts.  Consider where there might be gratitude for some element(s) of those experiences.  It’s interesting to see how all our past creates who we are today, and who we might become in our future.

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

AMinto@trchange.com

LinkedIn.com/in/annaminto

http://www.annaminto.com

Do We Really Know What We Know About Hybrid?

27 Jan

There’s a lot of mystery and myth out there about “moving to hybrid.”  I don’t pretend to have the answers.  But I do hear a lot of statements about the “constraints” and “problems with” working from hybrid and working from home.  I challenge us to really think about our personal beliefs.  Here are some questions and “why?” to consider in examining our paradigms about our shift to the new way of working…

  • Are people working from home really doing less?  Or more importantly, adding less value?  Why?
  • Do mentoring & development really have to be live face-to-face?  Why?
  • Do more visible hours really mean more engagement and getting more done?  Why?
  • Can the creativity fostered around tables and white boards not be duplicated with technology? Why?
  • Do people working remotely feel less valued than those in the office?  Why?
  • Are people working remotely less likely to be promoted or rated well?  Why?
  • How are different affinity groups impacted differently by the location from which they do their work? Why?

These are just a few of the “truisms” to challenge in our thinking, rather than take as fact.

How do we know how we’re doing? What works and what doesn’t?  What’s real & what’s not?

It all depends on our thinking, our creativity, our open-mindedness and our paradigms.  Let’s pause and take the time to think about it.

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

AMinto@trchange.com

LinkedIn.com/in/annaminto

http://www.annaminto.com

Advice: Goodvice, Advice

23 Nov

Are you giving goodvice or badvice advice?

With Thanksgiving upcoming, it might be a really good time to think about it!

Good advice is goodvice.  Here are a few characteristics it has:

  1. It’s solicited (asked for!).  Sounds simple, but most of us don’t consider that before we open our mouths.
  2. You’re qualified (in some way at least) to offer an opinion.
  3. Like your mom said, “if you can’t say it nicely, don’t say it at all!
  4. You take no offense if it’s completely discarded.

Sometimes people don’t actually want advice (even goodvice) at all.  They just want to vent.  Or to be heard.  Admit it, we all do it from time to time (some more than others, myself included). 

  • Rarely do we open the conversation with “Can you please just listen and shut up?” 
  • Or we’re actually just looking to build an ally or get positive reinforcement
  • Or (quite tricky to detect) we cloak it as “I want to run something by you” or “Can I get your opinion on…?” when we really don’t want advice in the first place.  Not sure why we do that, but we do! 

Rather than give badvice, keep it simple & don’t guess.  Ask (don’t guess):

  • “Do you really want my opinion?” 
  • “Do you just want to be heard?”  

It’s surprising how often the answer to the two questions above are respectively “no” and “yes.”  It’s also interesting to realize how often we don’t ask the questions when seemingly asked for “advice.”

Curious to know what you think …and if you want to catch these little nuggets, please follow me, and/or You Are Possible, and/or Transformational Change on Linked in.

Anna Minto

Founder & Managing Partner, Transformational Change

Founder, Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

Email:  AMinto@trchange.com

Linked-In: LinkedIn.com/in/annamintoBlog:  www.annaminto.com  

Successful People Fear Failure

31 Oct

We’ve all heard the term “Fear of Failure.”  But have you ever really thought about it for yourself?

What makes successful people successful is that, well, they’ve been successful.  Top of Class, A-Performer, risen to the top, accelerated progression, a Super Star, a High Performance / High Potential Rising Star.  All good stuff.

But what many hyper-successful people have not contemplated is that they are often not good at failure.  They have pretty limited experience with it.  They don’t know how to do it.  The setbacks that other mere mortals may have experienced often (!) during their rise to mid-level management.  How many of our top leaders typically encounter career trials & tribulations … and Failure!?  How many failed and failed and failed again … then rose to the top?  It’s not that those amazing examples aren’t out there … but, as a whole, our top Leaders have limited experience with the big F-word:  Failure.

High performers sometimes discover that they can be quite risk averse … that they actually fear failure.  They don’t put themselves in positions where potential for failure is a real outcome.  They would rather steer the ship slow and steady, than place a big bet or take a chance.  They would rather not try a new activity or hobby that they’re not experienced with or good at … because they might not look perfect in their attempts to learn.  They miss out on a lot of fun.

What’s your fear of failure factor?   What have you tried recently, that you’re not likely to succeed at, and might even look silly doing?  It’s OK to fail.  In fact, it can be liberating.

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”- Robert H. Schuller

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

AMinto@trchange.com

LinkedIn.com/in/annaminto

http://www.annaminto.com

Feedback Can Be Fun. Really.

30 Sep

The sentiment behind performance feedback is not supposed to be all about cutting you up, shining a light on a big problem, or providing all the answers to the next big promotion.  

And your response to performance feedback doesn’t just have to be about viewing others’ opinions (and their imperfections) as obstacles to get around.  Or things that are incorrect and must be proven to be so.

Very few of us eagerly await the “performance review.”  Yet people giving us feedback can be valuable partners, if (and only if) we view them as such.  That’s a big “if.”

We all have what psychologists call cognitive dissonance – when we believe we’re doing great, yet the data shows we could do better.  A “blind spot,” particularly when multiple facts sourced from multiple opinions have a common denominator (you!).  It’s part of the “Johari House” – a matrix representing whether feedback is known or unknown, and whether that’s known by yourself or by others:

  • Open (everyone sees it)
  • Blind (others see it, but you don’t see it)
  • Façade (you see it, but others don’t)
  • Unknown (no one sees it)

Take a moment to reflect on your Johari House based on your feedback.  Pay close attention to both the Blind spots, and the hidden Façades.  This can actually be fun!  Really.  It’s interesting because it’s about ourselves.  And as obvious as it sounds, it’s ok to say “I didn’t know that.”  And not view something as a “weakness” or an untruth but view it as an opportunity to consider exploring (and not by simply concluding “it must be wrong!”).

Many of us aim for outstanding personal and professional goals (aspirational!) … but we’re not perfect human beings, and we shouldn’t expect to be so. 

  • Perfectionism is not good for you. There’s plenty of research tying perfectionist tendencies to depression, anxiety, eating disorders and even suicide.
  • Perfectionism impedes growth as it makes us afraid to fail.
  • Personal innovation requires experimentation.  Experiments by definition include failures, because if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.
  • Choose the areas to focus on and work on.  View them as an experiment.
  • Be honest with yourself, be open to ideas, and have fun!

Oh, and don’t forget, that if you are giving someone performance feedback, you cannot support and help others grow if you can’t first accept that you too are imperfect and vulnerable.  

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

AMinto@trchange.com

www.LinkedIn.com/in/annaminto

www.annaminto.com

Leading in the New Hybrid World

20 Sep

It’s tough out there.  We’ve made it through our first global exposure to Covid, and new experiences of quarantining and working from home.  Now the next new challenge is emerging.  We’re not moving “back to the office.” Instead we’re now learning how to “embrace hybrid.” We are seeking that balance between “in person” (and it’s social, creative, technological and team building merits) and “remote” (and the associated benefits we’ve exposed around flexibility and productivity).  

There are many great examples of companies doing great things and experimenting with new ideas.  To me, it all boils down to 6 anchors that underpin actions: 

  1. Lead with PURPOSE.  First off, HAVE a Purpose.  For your company, your team, yourself.  Set all strategies, plans and actions in the context of this Purpose.  
  • FOSTER your environment.  Nurture a culture that’s open, psychologically safe, and endorses vulnerability.  Be engaged and be responsive.  Surface the unspoken and invite discussion.  Let people be heard and valued.
  • Value DIVERSITY … really value it.  I don’t mean visible differences like gender or race.  I’m talking about differences in thought and approach.  Organizations and teams get better results with differences, even though it can take more initial effort to do so, and it can be frustrating.
  • Appreciate CIRCUMSTANCES.  We are all at different stages in our lives (and those stages create different work-life balance needs). We are also a multi-generational workforce (with different expectations and outlooks).  Add on to that that we all have personal preferences and desires.  Understand these and work together to find mutually beneficial solutions for affinity groups.  Be flexible. 
  • Embody LEADERSHIP.  Particularly in rapidly changing, uncertain times.  Leadership takes self-awareness, curiosity, vulnerability, and empathy.  And most importantly, courage.  Examine yourself and your motives.
  • Keep LEARNING.  Adapting to something new takes practice and challenges old models.  Failed experiments are part of the process.  Don’t bury them, own them.  And do something about it.

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

AMinto@trchange.com

LinkedIn.com/in/annaminto

http://www.annaminto.com

Contact, Context, Content

7 Aug

All conversations are really about:

  • (how I feel inside)
  • We (how you and I relate)
  • It (the results we want, or the problem to solve)

(anyone wanting to think about that more can go to Ken Wilber’s book, “A Brief History of Everything” – an oldie but goodie, published over 20 years ago)

A lot of debate is spent on “where we are going” and thinking about “what we want to get (out of it).”  And when someone pushes, we push back.  Conflict and tension. “You are wrong,” we think (or, even worse, say). If “I” only see what I see, it’s impossible to explore the possibilities.   

You can’t micro-manage a two-way conversation, but you can control the process and therefore improve the outcome.  Here’s how to think about Contact, Context and Content:

  1. Listen.  Listen well.  It’s hard to listen to the other person fully, and not interrupt.  Really hard. Especially if they are interrupting you.  Shut up, and really listen.
  2. Enquire.  Ask questions: “What do you think?” “Why do you think that?” and “What would you like the result to be?”  Remember that others usually don’t say “stupid” things; there’s a reason behind it and you should know why.
  3. Summarize.  “Did I get what you’re saying correctly?” and “I think I heard you say…”
  4. Validate.  Acknowledge that what they say is reasonable.  “I can understand why you think …” and “That makes sense and …”
  5. Express your views.  Use safety in the “I.” It’s hard to argue with how you feel, or how you think.  It’s your opinion alone.
  6. Negotiate.  Explore the possible.  Look for the common ground.  Look for the trade-offs.
  7. Formalize.  Get specific about what is agreed.  Who, what, how and when.  Never end with a vague, hanging “I’m so happy we’re in agreement!” (about what?).
  8. Learn.  Think about where we ended up, and how we got there.  Try it differently next time.

So:  first make contact with yourself and with the other (what is wanted, and WHY), then explore the context(why), and then (finally) get to the content.  

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” — Teddy Roosevelt

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

AMinto@trchange.com

www.LinkedIn.com/in/annamintowww.annaminto.com

Gender Expectations Live On …

4 Jul

Gender Expectations Live On …

When it comes to gender bias, we’ve come a long way in the last few decades.  Take a look at the following list of commonly held beliefs from the late 1900s (yep, that was only 2 decades ago). 

I know of few people who would broadly agree with this list, though some might (in their inner thoughts!) hold a couple of these ideas.  Some statements have been debunked by fact and science; others have been muted by experience.  But I think it’s safe to say that for the most-part, these don’t hold true today. 

Now, take a look at this list:

Perhaps a few more that still linger?  Depends on the facts, the culture and the individual.  But they’re still out there.  And some lie not too deep below the surface.

What’s still on your list?  What’s still on this list of those around you and on your team? It’s time to start talking about it and being actively aware of our biases.  Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

AMinto@trchange.com

LinkedIn.com/in/annaminto

http://www.annaminto.com