Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for October, 2014

Planning a step at a time—then pushing it to the limit! Love it!

I was thinking just this morning how I get such a “high” when I pull off what I originally saw as next to impossible within a specific time frame. I’m a diligent planner. Yet, I know myself well enough to know that although I plan far in advance, I also tend to push the envelope when it comes to hitting deadlines.

Over time, I chip away at a project, a proposal, prep for a meeting, correspondence——I take copious notes, shifting my focus from one thing to another, until I have enough information in each area to provide a launching pad for aggressive progress towards completion, right about when the respective deadlines loom. Or, should I say to provide a launching pad for my insane last minute somewhat enjoyable frenzy? It works for me, and I’m learning through conversations, that it may work for many of us.

As the deadline approaches, I’m aware that I’m procrastinating although I’m not necessarily wasting time because I might apply my energy or time to a not-yet due, but worthy project. The closer I get to the deadline the more I can feel myself physically reacting to this self-induced stress that I’ve finally come to realize, I thrive on. I become extremely focused, working diligently towards the finish line. Creativity abounds. Productivity escalates. And the anticipation of the feeling I get when I successfully crunch to reach the finish line once again, as promised, is exhilarating! For years, I struggled to do it differently until I realized that I don’t need to struggle and I don’t need to do it differently. I need to accept myself, expect my tendencies to prevail, and let go of it.

Can you relate? Or is moving towards a deadline a totally different experience for you?

One-on-ones with employees can be powerful, especially if you stick to the plan.

I’ve seen clients experience some pretty cool results from holding one-on-ones with their direct reports consistently—whether they are weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Whether the meetings are meant to exchange regular updates on a project, or to offer an employee the opportunity to share successes or ask for specific assistance or support, these brief but dependable meetings can be very powerful. Regular focused meetings with individual employees build rapport and provide great and real-time coaching opportunities. And, they provide the leader with a better handle on departmental and/or organizational successes and challenges.

From my experience, I’ll offer a couple of additional tidbits that may help. —One of the most crucial components of an effective one-on-one is stating and then sticking to the objective of the meeting. As an example, if the objective is to share on-going updates on a project, and you become aware of a significant problem with an individual’s performance, I’m recommending that you schedule a separate meeting to have the performance discussion. This approach will sustain the integrity of both meetings.

So if it’s been a while since the individuals on your team have had your full attention, you may want to let them know you’re going to be in touch with each of them to create a schedule for regular one-on-ones. Establish the objective and timeline, stick to the plan, and enjoy the results.