Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for September, 2015

Got.To.Get.To.Work….Or do you?

So, it’s been a crazy few weeks (or months) at work for you. You’ve been driven and productive with barely any flexibility in your days. Heavy meetings, looming deadlines, travel, on-going interruptions and distractions. And then, you see a breather up ahead. It’s a Thursday. You vow not to add any meetings to your calendar on that Thursday. Thursday is the day you’ll clean up your desk. You’ll debrief those notes. You’ll finally have time to catch up, and it’s going to feel so-o-o good! Can’t wait until Thursday.

Thursday gets here. You’re feeling pretty good at the start of your day. You grab some coffee and take a little time to catch up on the news, Facebook, LinkedIn. You shuffle some papers. You respond to incoming email and re-read a few recent emails. Yet as the morning progresses, and time ticks on, you’re beginning to feel badly about how little you actually accomplished so far. Man, you shouldn’t have spent so much time on line—waste of time. You grab a bite re-committing to a more productive afternoon.

You get back to your desk and you glance at the things you wanted to accomplish but instead of being drawn to them, you feel somewhat overwhelmed with resistance and added pressure. For the remainder of the day, the mess on your desk has you seeking anything that will help you avoid it. Nearing the end of the day, you’re feeling downright disappointed in yourself about what you failed to accomplish. You were looking so forward to the feeling you anticipated having at the end of the day. You had total control over the happenings of the day, and you blew it. Finally, at around 4:00pm, you let go of it. As the evening progresses, you do your best to justify it and move on……to the couch.

I’m guessing that many, if not most of you, can relate. I personally had one of these days recently, and it prompted me to write this post, and share with you how I aim to treat the day differently in the future. The next time I see an oasis of free time in the form of one single day, I will no longer commit to “catching up” on my work. My plan is to acknowledge that I might be exhausted and need a rest, or a shift in thinking—all of which would be good for me and help me be my best at work. I’ll look forward to a day of “choices”. I might choose to catch up on work, or I might choose to go online, or I might choose to have some great conversations, take a lunch break at the lake, or take a break to see my kids. Or, I might simply revel in having the time to let my mind wander.

Whatever I choose to do, the goal is that at the start of my “Thursday”, I’ll congratulate myself for all that I accomplished recently—and at the end of the day, I’ll feel good about whatever I chose to do with my day.

Human nature. Can’t avoid it so I’m going with it.

Five key strategies for leading and managing change

I had the following article published this morning in Rochester, NY, so i thought I’d share it here. Change in organizations is inevitable and it presents its fair share of challenges, both logistically and emotionally. Whether changes are related to job responsibilities, reorganization, and/or acquisitions and mergers, I hope these five key strategies will either validate your efforts or offer you additional ideas for consideration.

– – – – – – -Five key strategies for leading and managing change.- – – – – -originally published on 9/1/15 in the Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, NY:

If you’re leading a change initiative, check out these five key strategies that will help you, and those you lead, through a successful transition.

1. Establish a clear plan. A strong leader’s change strategy will be based on the understanding that a clear plan is the first priority, and its success is dependent upon carefully communicating that plan and related expectations consistently to everyone involved.

2. Position the change. We may not be able to minimize the emotions and challenges that people will experience when change ensues. Yet, through communicating the plan and its benefits before changes take hold we may help employees move through the change with a little less trepidation — minimizing the negative impact on employee morale and productivity.

3. Clarify roles and expectations. As leaders, anything we can do to clarify current and future roles and expectations, as promptly as possible, will help to lead others more swiftly through change.

4. Avoid dead air. Communicate updates and reinforce expectations throughout the change initiative. During significant change, a leader may well understand that there are actions associated with the change that are consistently taking place behind the scenes. However, a long gap in communication may be misinterpreted as a lack of action and follow-through. Also, in the absence of ongoing communication, people may start making up and acting on their own misinterpreted versions of what is happening, which could result in stalled progress.

5. Be sensitive to the human side of change. William Bridges, a well-known change management expert shares this in his informative book Managing Transitions — “Change may happen very quickly, yet transition may take a while, and not everyone goes through it at the same pace.”

With change being inevitable and sometimes constant in today’s business environment, our ability to understand and lead ourselves and others through change effectively is crucial to success.