Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for October, 2012

Celebrating 23 years in business—Thank you!

I’m delighted to say that tomorrow, November 1st, I am celebrating 23 years in business. I remember the day well. I had worked evenings and weekends for five months prior to launching the business while I was working full time as Sales Training Manager for RCI/Rochester Tel. I had given four-weeks notice and my last day of work was Friday, October 29th. First thing Monday morning, November 1st, I delved into my cold call sales list. I had an incredible amount of energy and passion about getting started, which is no surprise, since I had been listening to motivational tapes, visualizing and affirming every chance I got for the entire five months leading up to my start date. As I remember it, I think I may have driven my family crazy with my over-the-top positive attitude—which of course I needed in order to overcome my fears about the risk I was taking.

It was actually on May 24th, 1989 after attending a goal-setting workshop, that I made the decision to quit my job and start the business. That very day, I wrote my commitment on a 3×5 card provided by the workshop facilitator, as he reiterated how important it was to write your goals down, and to apply a target date to them. So I did. I wrote “Start My Own Consulting Business”, and applied the target date—November 1st.

I’d been thinking about working for myself for some time. Even early in my career when I was a legal secretary and executive assistant, I remember thinking that someday I’d like to help managers more effectively engage and lead their teams. Being an assistant for those years, before I entered management, I often had a bird’s-eye view of employee morale and team needs and found myself with an innate ability to “coach” my superiors about how they might approach employee challenges. I remember getting a great deal of satisfaction when my manager would try an approach, and get positive results, from an idea that I had offered. I still get that high today when a client is successful.

Considering my experience in both support functions and leadership roles, I decided to focus the business and my services on professional skills for non-management staff. This offered a great marketing niche for me and gave me the opportunity to work with audiences that were hungry to learn more about being successful in their roles and careers. Within a couple of years, management consulting became a specialty as I was learning so much about what made employees tick in the workplace as they shared their confidential challenges and triumphs with me in the classroom.

In the mid-nineties, after helping an executive and his assistant work more efficiently as a team, the executive asked me to work with him one-on-one on his ability to delegate more efficiently to his leadership team. As I accepted the challenge, I had no idea that I was entering a profession that would become so popular, but I soon knew that I loved the work and the opportunity to work with someone over a period of time—to really help them make a difference.

Today, although I still enjoy facilitating workshops as part of a bigger solution, one-on-one coaching continues to be a gift to me, and hopefully to those I serve.

To my clients and colleagues, to the thousands of people who have attended my workshops, and to my family, I just want to say, thank you! Thank you for your trust. Thank you for what you continue to teach me. And thank you for your contribution to my ability to sustain my business and continue doing work that I love.

You are the best.

Americans’ questions metaphor for employee concerns

I found myself reflecting this morning on how the questions posed by Americans during the presidential debate last night serve as a metaphor for what, in my experience, employees are looking for from their leaders—particularly during a change initiative: And here’s what I heard the underlying messages to be:

– Please acknowledge the challenges we’re currently experiencing and weathering.
– Tell us where we’re headed as an organization. What specifically is your plan or strategy? What can we expect over the next year?
– How will your plan benefit and affect us as a team? And how will it benefit and affect me personally?
– Help us trust that you’re telling the truth and that you’ll keep your word.
– We’re made up of different cultures, perspectives, and varied skills. Can we count on you to respect, engage and represent all of us equally?
– Are you just talking with us now to get our buy-in, or can we count on you to keep us informed and engaged throughout the change initiative?

It can take anywhere from one to three years to implement a significant organizational change in an organization of 1,000 people. And the success in doing so in any size organization is heavily dependent on the leader’s ability to build trust and communicate effectively at the onset and throughout the change.

Wow, can you imagine having to lead a change initiative for a country of 300 million people?

New summary will now help you find GET REAL blog entries relating to your topic of interest.

I’m psyched because I finally took the time to create a summary in which my 145 GET REAL blog entries are categorized by topics of interest. There are 19 different categories/topics to choose from. Just click here then choose whatever category you’re interested in, and all of the blog article links associated with that topic will be immediately accessible for your convenience.

I plan to continue to offer leadership, communication, and life skills in bite-size, and easily applicable tools or ideas every two weeks, so I hope you’ll come back and benefit from what GET REAL has to offer.