From Mike’s Desk:
As we close out 2013, or any other year, we tend to look back to see the progress we have made, the challenges we have overcome, and the opportunities we have either passed on or made the best of. 2013 presented a number of challenges including weather extremes, online privacy concerns, and a slowly growing global economy. Ultimately the financial markets performed spectacularly and most of us are feeling a bit more confident.
Once we have taken stock of the year just passed we quickly turn our attention to the year ahead. The articles I have curated for this posting tend to focus on tools, techniques, and other information you can use to manage your business and personal life for optimal results.
One great technique I learned from Dan Sullivan at the Strategic Coach is called the concept of being caught in the Gap. Dan said that humans make goals by imagining a better future and that as they approach those goals they make even more expansive goals. As a result they are always short of their ideal situation and this results in frustration. He said it is like sailing toward the horizon – no matter how far you sail it is still beyond reach. This situation is called “being in the gap.” It is the distance from your current situation and your ideal situation.
To avoid falling into the frustration cycle that result from being “in the gap” Dan says that you should look back and take stock of all of the progress you have made. Your goals are still in front of you but you can gain energy and confidence from celebrating progress.
Good luck, and Happy New Year! Mike
Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.
We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives — getting into the better shape, building a successful business, raising a wonderful family, writing a best-selling book, winning a championship, and so on.
And for most of us, the path to those things starts by setting a specific and actionable goal. At least, this is how I approached my life until recently. I would set goals for classes I took, for weights that I wanted to lift in the gym, and for clients I wanted in my business.
What I’m starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things.
It all comes down to the difference between goals and systems.
There’s No Such Thing as a Culture Turnaround
Harvard Business Review Blog Network
by Jon R. Katzenbach | 8:00 AM December 18, 2013
Company culture changes very slowly, so efforts to do an about-face are inevitably a waste of time and energy: Organizations either declare victory prematurely or, in frustration, abandon the attempt.
You’re better off thinking of your cultural situation as an underpinning you’ll have to work with over time. It will evolve, but more slowly than other elements of your enterprise, such as a new operating model. You can shape your culture, however—and you can make better use of it by altering or adopting a few key behaviors.
That’s what one client of ours, a large industrial manufacturer, did to accelerate its recovery from severe financial distress during the recession. This example from the past is particularly instructive because we now have the distance to see how a few behavioral changes not only improved performance right away but also are having a longer-term impact on the company’s culture.
At the height of its troubles, this manufacturer was hamstrung by a risk-averse, slow-moving culture. At the time, the interim CEO assumed he wouldn’t be there long enough to “turn around” the culture—and in a sense, he was right. But we worked with his senior team to better understand the existing culture and to foster three key behaviors that would improve performance.
First, the management team started making significant, visible decisions—for instance, canceling a major product line expansion—in a matter of weeks instead of years. Next, several senior executives conducted small-group discussions with informal leaders in the organization about which cultural traits needed attention—something they’d rarely done in the past for fear of either wasting time or meddling outside their formal jurisdictions. They also put more in-house people in direct contact with customers more of the time.
Those adjustments have helped the company cultivate three traits—speed, risk-taking, and accountability to customers—deemed essential to its success.
All leaders can learn from this example: Target a few behaviors that will immediately energize the elements of your culture that are critical to moving your business forward. It is surprising how rapidly you can revitalize existing cultural traits if you concentrate on the right behaviors. Though it takes a bit of time and patience, viral spreading among informal leaders is a lot faster than programmatic spreading through redesign. Here’s what you do:
15 Ways To Fly Flu-Free This Season
Maybe you’ve noticed over the years that every plane trip seems to end with a cold or bout of the flu. Is there a connection? Well, yes, just as there is in any situation that puts many people in close proximity in an enclosed place for a long period of time.
While the modern airplane ventilation systems on larger planes are much improved, research by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that nothing can stop a sneeze from reaching you within two seats in any direction from someone who’s sick.
And researchers at the University of Victoria in Canada used health records and statistical analysis to conclude that air passengers were 113 times more likely than the general population to come down with a cold in the week after a five-hour flight. According to the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health Research, possible culprits include recirculated air, close proximity of passengers, and most importantly lack of humidity.
One more thing: the air isn’t your only concern. Rhinoviruses, the germs responsible for the common cold, can survive for up to three hours on surfaces like railings, door handles, armrests, tray tables, and seat pockets, reports the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
As always, the secret to self-protection is to be prepared. Here are 15 ways to germ-proof yourself while you fly.
Most Economists Say Happy New Year — Really
As the new year begins, most economists’ annual forecasts are brimming with good cheer.
“The economic news remains broadly encouraging,” the Goldman Sachs forecasters write in their 2014 outlook.
And the brighter prospects are not limited to this country. “The global economy is likely to emerge in 2014 with modest growth of 3.3 percent compared with 2.5 percent this year,” according to Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.
Most stock analysts also see more gains coming on Wall Street. JPMorgan chief U.S. equity strategist Tom Lee, who accurately predicted stock advances for 2013, says Americans are now in the midst of “a classic bull market,” driven by good earnings.
So, why all the upbeat forecasts? What has changed? These are among the most commonly cited factors:
5 More Incredibly Simple Things You Should Do To Protect Your Privacy
Today’s creepy news is that snoops can turn on your Mac’s webcam to spy on you without activating the camera’s telltale light. But rejoice, there’s a way for even the least tech-savvy among us to prevent this hack from working: putting something opaque in front of your camera. I opt for a sticker tailor-made for the job by civil liberties group EFF.
Because a sticker (or post-it note or thumb) over a camera is an incredible simple way to protect your privacy, it’s time to add a few more tips to my popular list on the topic from last year. Without further ado, here are some additions to my privacy tips for lazy people.
1. Put a removable sticker over the cameras on your Internet-connected devices. As noted above, things connected to the Internet have the downside of possible hacking. If there’s a camera aimed at you that you’re not actively using, it’s a good idea to go ahead and cover it up. If people say you’re seeming a bit tin-foil hattish paranoid, send them links to this or this or this or this or this….
7 Ways to Improve Your First Impression
BY Kevin Daum
Many forget the importance of a first impression. Here are 7 tips to help you get off on the right foot.
I am amazed how little most people care about the initial impression they make. Are they unaware or just simply uninterested? Recently, I have been helping a few clients with business development and hiring. In that process, I have interviewed potential partners, vendors, management candidates and entry-level applicants. Across the board, I am astounded at how poorly people present themselves in person, online and by phone.
So many express dissatisfaction with their ability to close deals, make the right contacts or attract powerful opportunities. But for many, it’s not the economy, their financial status or even Congress getting in their way. It’s their inability to leave the kind of first impression that would make other people want to come back and spend more time, money or effort.
A little thought and intent goes a long way toward improving how people see you. Here are seven tips to help you wow them from the start.
1. Dress Well
Your outer appearance is your packaging. If you look cheap and unappealing, people will have a negative reaction. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look groomed and well-dressed. Every city, including New York, has places where you can get a decent haircut for less than $30, and there’s an abundance of affordable, stylish clothes in stores and online. But grooming takes time and attention. You have to care about details like hair and nails. Being appropriately stylish doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on Armani, but you need to understand color, material and effect. Every industry has minimal appearance standards, and you owe it to yourself to meet or exceed those–down to your shoes–regardless of your position. If you put in the care and effort, others will notice and respect you for it.