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Forget the Goal!

29 Jul

In business, as in leadership, the bottom line is “did you meet (or exceed) the goal?”  And “goal” can be defined quite broadly, almost always including a financial target, and (thankfully) also often including other (usually less tangible) goals such as personal feedback, social responsibility, or customer delight.

Here’s something to consider though … it’s the TEAM that gets us to the GOAL (unless of course it’s such a small goal that we can do it all ourselves).  Focusing on the team, the individual relationship and motivators, is what gets us to the goal.

So, manage the work, but lead the people!

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & Consultant, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

What’s Your Legacy?

27 Jun

Many of us have heard of the “tombstone” or “funeral” exercise.  The one where we think about what we would like to be remembered for or spoken about for “generations to come!”  For most, it’s not about the house we owned, the car we drove, or the title we held at work.  It’s more likely about what we experienced, what we taught, what we did with the circumstances we had, and how we helped people feel.   

We speak of the “generations to come” … but guess what, those generations are very short-lived.  Here’s an interesting exercise:  Start by writing down your parents’ first and last names, and a couple of points about the most critical things they did and taught you.   Then go back one generation, to your four grandparents.  Now go back to your eight great-grandparents.  Probably getting a little patchy by now.  Finally, reach as far back to your sixteen great-great-grandparents.  It’s fascinating how few of us can articulate the role that even a few in this generation played.  

So, the legacy question might be simplified to “what are you going to leave your children and grandchildren?” … so that they might pass along what you taught them, to the two generations behind them.

What are you going to leave behind? And for how many generations?  Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & Consultant, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

Whose Boundary is it Anyway?

31 May

We all know about “setting boundaries” … with work-life, with children, with partners and with a lot of “others.”

Underlying the work boundaries there are often 3 shapers of the lines we draw:

  • Sustainability:  how many hours, on average, we will designate to “work”
  • Predictability:  how often work plans change, and with what kind of warning
  • Flexibility: how much traditional “work hours” can flex to accommodate non-work needs

Most of us, either explicitly or intuitively are weighing and drawing those lines with our employers (who recently have often become a lot more receptive to accommodating requests if we have the courage to find our voice and ask for what will work for us.  Setting boundaries (both hard, like a concrete wall, and soft, like a strand of yellow warning tape) with employers is often the easy part.

The tricky part is setting boundaries with ourselves.  Yup, the person sitting right here with us.  We define boundaries, get buy-in with our work teams … and then choose to run into or step over them ourselves.  Sometimes it’s fear of repercussions (like promotion-track timing) … sometimes it’s just spontaneous excitement in the moment (like a super-engaging problem to finish analyzing at midnight) … and sometimes it’s just neglect (it creeps up, we ignore it, and somehow, some day, we lift our heads up and realize we’ve drifted from our own intent).  

So, the big question is:  what are YOU doing to keep YOURSELF in check?!

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

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

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

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

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



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

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