Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for May, 2007

Small, small steps

I’ve wanted to learn Italian for as long as I can remember. As a child it was the language my parents and aunts and uncles used if they didn’t want me to know what they were talking about. I could sometimes pick up the gist of a conversation, but that was as far it ever went. As an adult, I’ve had little reason or opportunity to hear or learn the language. But I’ve always loved the language and I’ve maintained the desire to learn it. I must have mentioned it more than once, because I just received the Rosetta Stone language-learning series from my family for my birthday. I was delighted. Rosetta Stone claims it’s the fastest way to learn a language. Guaranteed!

So I’m on a journey to learn something new—to do something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I mention it here because one of the first things I thought of after my initial excitement subsided, was, Where in the world will I find the time to devote to this?

Then I realized that I find the time to devote to my business and work for my clients. I set aside time to volunteer. And when I find the time to spend with family and friends, or do something for me, it’s always worth the effort. So I’m going to find the time, in small bites, to accomplish this goal.

So there’s the message I want to share today. Take it easy. Take it in small, manageable steps because even the smallest steps will undoubtedly move you forward.

I’m psyched. Ciao!

Leveraging strengths

If you haven’t read The Extraordinary Leader, Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders, by John H. Zenger and Joseph Folkman, I highly recommend it.

I had the opportunity last year to spend two full days with Joe Folkman, the co-author of the book, in preparation for a program I was facilitating for a client. There were only three of us in the workshop, so it was a rich experience. One of the most significant take-aways, among several for me, was the idea that we are much more likely to become extraordinary leaders if we focus on leveraging our strengths, instead of focusing our development on trying harder at something we may not be great at. I find both the concept and the statistics behind the extensive research shared in the book intriguing and helpful as I develop myself and coach others.

Check your motive

In my experience, a lack of direct, timely and honest communication sits at the core of many problems that arise in the workplace.
People often ask me how they might decide if they should approach someone at work with a concern. Here’s a guideline that may help. Check your motive and be sure it includes your desire to generate a positive business impact.

For example, if your genuine motive is to increase productivity, build a relationship with a colleague or your team, increase your organization’s ability to provide quality or enhanced customer service, or simply help the person you’re communicating with, the odds for a positive outcome to your conversation are good.

However, if your true motive is to finally tell someone you’re upset with what you really think of them, to call someone on a bad move in order to make your point, or generate a negative reflection of another, the odds for negative repercussions increase. Then you may want to reconsider whether the conversation is a good idea.

So if you’re wondering whether a concern is worth addressing, ask yourself if your motive is business-worthy.