All posts filed under: Leadership

Feeling each piece of grass on your toes

It’s a really busy and anxious world we live in right now and if you don’t get a hold of your angst, it will strangle you.  “Try to walk so slowly that you feel each piece of grass on the bottom of your foot.”  That is what my friend Michael Apollo told me.  He was teaching me a walking meditation. I was 29 and feeling overwhelmed with work and life and had come to know Michael through a local health and wellness clinic. He taught some group mindfulness classes which I enjoyed so I decided to see if I could learn more 1:1.  As someone who was always active, this was a new way to bring some calm into my life. We were hanging out in a park near a busy street in Toronto. There was construction nearby, and I wasn’t sure how this was going to work.  In my mind, I felt anxious. “How can I concentrate with the construction noise? Is this going to work? Why can’t those people walking by be quiet? We should …

How to fall in love with your abilities

“We can fall in love with our own abilities and our own potential, then choose to maximize those abilities.” – Bob Rotella, performance psychologist, New York Times Bestseller author Thanksgiving is always a good time to evaluate your progress in a year, surrounded by friends and family. We often focus on the endpoint, the results, instead of focusing on the journey and the abilities and skills that got us there. Taking time to reflect on how you have grown and how your best performances look and feel like, can often tell you more about where to focus next. In the spirit of incremental learning, take some time this week to answer these two questions: 1. What does it look and feel like when I perform at my best? 2.  What are two changes can I make in my daily routine to support performing at my best? Have a great Thanksgiving week. Defeating Average. Colin

Make Your Content Short and Sweet

In this three-part blog, I’m going to answer a recent mentees question on how you prepare for an executive presentation. Part 2 – Preparing Content If you have been like me, I get wrapped up in putting slides and content together and getting stuck! As I have learned over time, start by hitting the ball down the fairway, instead of playing in the trees. Start by answering this question: 1. What challenges are you solving for? – Slide 1 This will guide the rest of your presentation (or golf round) 2. What are your big bets or solution to the challenges? – Slide 2 3-5 ideas Show them visually  Have anecdotes or stories to back them up No more than 25 words on a slide (much less is better) 3. Money Slide – Slide 3 If it’s a business plan – show an annual view of the program (s) If it’s a sales proposal – show the ROI of each solution You are likely to spend time on one slide when executives start asking questions, this is it.  …

I am busy and I am anxious

Part 4   “I don’t actually have serious work problems but I am anxious about that.” I can recall through my career, my feelings Sunday when the weekend glow would start to end and the realization I had to go back to work the next week would start to set in.  Like the glow starting to dim after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Two things I am going to address here:  I am busy and I am anxious. Even if we like our job, we are often really busy, treading water trying to keep up. I noticed about a year ago, that when I asked people “how it’s going?” they would say “busy”.   It didn’t give me any information about what they were working on or how they were feeling, except that they may be overwhelmed.   It had me question, when I used that term (which I was often) how people left interactions with me?? I decided to do two things: 1. Be ready for the question I share 2-3 …

20/10/5/3

What do the numbers 20, 10, 5, 3 have in common? In this three-part blog I’m going to answer a recent mentees question on how you prepare for an executive presentation. Three ways: 1. Managing time 2. Content 3. Mental preparation In this first, it’s managing time. The answer to the question above is – it’s the four lengths of presentations you should prepare for (in minutes) when conducting an executive presentation. Busy executives will either start right on time and end 5 min early in a 30-minute meeting to get ready for their next meeting or may show up late coming from another high priority meeting. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, sorry “x critical issue came up” and you have 20, 10, 5 or 3 minutes to share your idea…and you need to include feedback time and next steps. Once I’m done drilling the content, I’ll run it three more times in shorter time frames. In the next post we’ll talk about content. Colin

I don’t like my job

Part 3 In her NY Times article and a part-time gig as work friend, Megan Greenwell writes about “How Your Job Will Never Love You Back.” Here are four buckets Megan puts most work anxiety into: My boss annoys me. My co-workers (usually millennials) annoy me. I am dissatisfied with the type of work I do and/or don’t know what to do next. I don’t actually have serious work problems but I am anxious about that. I remember sitting down with one of my early mentors in sales, Rick after a sales call. He was a big burly guy with force and a kind heart. We talked about what I did well and where I could improve. One of the things he picked up for me, that even when I made some mistakes in the sales process, I was intently focused on listening and getting back on track.  It may have been a winding road, but I achieved the objective. Fast forward eight years and in the first couple sessions with my coach I hired, …

Go On a Listening Tour

Part 2 In her NY Times article and a part-time gig as work friend, Megan Greenwell writes about “How Your Job Will Never Love You Back.“ Here are four buckets Megan puts most work anxiety into: My boss annoys me. My co-workers (usually millennials) annoy me. I am dissatisfied with the type of work I do and/or don’t know what to do next. I don’t actually have serious work problems but I am anxious about that. Here are my thoughts on her four buckets in part two of the blog series:   My co-workers annoy me It sounds like maybe you have not found your tribe. In his recent book, Trailblazer, Marc Benioff talks about how Salesforce is a value-centered organization. I have been here 14 years and I can tell you: Trust, Customer Success, Innovation and Growth have ebbed and flowed as our values year over year, with the recent addition of equality. I would ask you, have you done the work to define your own strengths and values and overlayed those against the current role or …

Your Job Will Never Love You Back

In her NY Times article and a part-time gig as work friend, Megan Greenwell writes about “How Your Job Will Never Love You Back.” Let me ask you a question: When does work anxiety start creeping in for you? Sunday at 9 pm, 6 pm, 10 am, Saturday, or does it ever leave? For me, it’s on Saturday at 8am. If I don’t get a couple of hours of “work” done Saturday morning, I feel behind. The more I get done Saturday morning, the more I can enjoy the rest of the weekend with my family. Here are four buckets Megan puts most work anxiety into: My boss annoys me. My co-workers (usually millennials) annoy me. I am dissatisfied with the type of work I do and/or don’t know what to do next. I don’t actually have serious work problems but I am anxious about that. Here are my thoughts on her four buckets in a four-part blog series:   My boss annoys me   Here is my advice, don’t work for a bad boss. I …

10 Tactics to Better Manage Your Energy and Time 

On Monday I talked about better managing your energy.  Below are my top 10 Tactical Ways I manage Energy and Time.  “Einstein is reported to have said that if he only had one hour to solve a problem he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and the remaining 5 minutes solving it routinely.” Each Saturday morning for an HOUR (it’s a time I tend to be freshest) I re-organize my calendar for the next weeks ahead and ask myself:  Does this meeting serve my top 5 priorities this month, my team (direct team, boss and partner teams)?  How many mentor meetings do I have in the calendar? Optimal 2 per week.  How many peer collaboration meetings that provide me inspiration? Optimal 2-3 per week  I write a “Focus for the week” email to my team outlining our top 4-5 priorities for the week. They tell me it helps keep them on track and is a check for me against my responsibilities as a team leader.  I put my own oxygen mask on first. Starting …

You are overwhelmed, anxious and can’t get everything done

Problem: You are overwhelmed, anxious and can’t fathom how you are possibly going to get everything done in the week, including reading and returning all your emails! Many people ask me how I manage time effectively? Solution: Read this old gem I wrote on Managing your energy and not your time, and… Answer these four questions: When am I at my best? If I look back at my best days, what has been consistent in all of them? Who do I lean on for positivity when I get anxious or overwhelmed? What is the best way I recharge my soul? Stay tuned Wednesday for tactical answers on how to better manage your energy and your time. Defeating Average Colin