Being successful in corporate America means being good at teamwork. You aren’t going to be able to work effectively without basic teamwork skills.
Teamwork is something that you never master, so today, we are going to cover 5 things you can do to improve teamwork.
To new ideas, perspectives, people. When a team is working well, it is because of the openness of the team members to bring their ideas to the table without worrying about any negative consequences.
Everyone on the team needs to be transparent. This is tricky because some people, by nature, are not comfortable with transparency.
Teams are transparent when they say what they mean, when they listen to what others have to say, and when they don’t gossip.
Sometimes the mission gets lost because each department has their own objectives. But, every team in a company should be supporting the overall mission of the company. Great teams remember this.
Many companies fall into the trap that they go to the same people over-and-over. You should purposefully include people from adjacent departments to ensure you are getting different perspectives.
Good teams have a culture of accountability. They build into their framework tools that help with accountability because they recognize that it isn’t everybody’s strength.
Getting ready to leave for a vacation, and coming back to work after vacation are usually very stressful. Sometimes you feel like you need a vacation after your vacation just to catch up. In this episode, we cover some tips for how to productively manage the time leading up to your vacation and the day you return from vacation.
The process starts 2 weeks before your schedule vacation:
1. Add an out of office notification to your signature. This is going to alert people to the fact that you are going to be out. It will nudge them to take action on something that they might need before you leave.
2. Review your calendar for the time you are away. Make a list of any deliverables that you need to prepare during your absence.
3. Block time on your calendar over the next 2 weeks to prepare everything on your list. For example, if you have a meeting where you are responsible for preparing and presenting a slide, you would block time on your calendar to both prepare the slide and make arrangements for someone else to present the slide at the meeting. Learn more about Time Blocking from Episode 10.
4. Block an Inservice Day, or half day for the day before you leave and the day your return. An inservice day is when you block your calendar as if you are out of the office, but you are actually working. It gives you the time and space you need to catch up because people think you are still out.
5. If you have the type of job where someone will be covering for you while you are out of office, block time on the calendar for a meeting with them to manage the transition. You should block time for before you leave and when you return.
One week before you leave, you will start to:
1. Say no to any new request that comes your way – don’t take on more work when you know you have a hard stop in advance of your vacation.
2. Be extra diligent about your priorities. You are going to go into hyper-vigilant mode. If it isn’t absolutely necessary, it can wait.
Some other tips:
At People Move Organizations, we believe that you will be more successful if you are self aware. Knowing your internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions is what makes you self aware, which makes you better at making decisions, interacting with others, and more productive.
Self Control is one aspect of self awareness which we will dive into in this episode.
Self Control = keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check.
People who are good at self control:
Self control is invisible – it is the absence of drama.
There are tools that can help you keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check:
Give it perspective
Think about your situation in terms of who will die as a result. This really gives you perspective to realize that although you are currently feeling stressed, it isn’t – literally – the end of the world.
Recognize your personal filters
Something that may be devastating to you might be a great opportunity to someone else. Every situation can have multiple, legitimate responses. Your response may be legitimate for you, but remembering that it isn’t the same for everyone can help you stay composed.
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Sometimes, when you aren’t being as productive as you want to be, it is hard to put your finger on the reason. Here are some tips that might help you identify what may be holding you back:
What should you not be doing?
Over time, we become progressively less productive because we let a bunch of things that have become unproductive take over our time. It was probably serving a purpose when you started doing it, but over time, it lost its value and you’ve just kept doing it because you’ve always done it.
Consider what you are doing that is no longer necessary and stop doing it.
Are you following your priorities?
What are the highest priorities in your life? We call this your North Star List. If you want to be productive, you need to ensure that you are only doing things that support your priorities. As a matter of fact, we’ve even done an episode just about this topic: The Foundation of Productivity is Priorities.
Recognize that mindset can impact your productivity. Have you ever said this:
I can’t get everything done, there just isn’t enough time.
This is a mindset issue. When I catch myself saying this, I change my words to:
I don’t need to get everything done, just the next thing.
Take away the power that the thought has over you.
Become aware of the mindset that is impacting your productivity.
Productivity is a way of life – not a set of hacks.
You can be a productive member of society and not actually be very productive.
In this episode, we are going to focus on the type of productivity that, when you get to the end of your day you know that you worked on the most important things.
But, for those of you who are looking for a productivity hack, let me tell you mine: being crystal clear on my priorities.
When you know what your priorities are, you are more productive because you spend your time on things that support your priorities. You don’t spend your time on things that don’t support your priorities.
In addition to knowing your priorities, you also have to learn to prioritize your priorities. Sometimes, work is the most important priority. Sometimes, its family. The priorities are always changing, and you need to consciously think about which of your priorities are taking the spotlight.
North Start List episode
Status Quo Bias is the tendency to stick with the status quo even when presented with a better option involving change.
Inertia is real! We all fall victim to it. The lack of motivation to make a change because what you are doing is working fine is natural.
When there isn’t an issue with the way things are working today, you don’t even think about how it could work better.
It takes action to break the status quo. But, first, you must recognize the need to take action.
There are processes in every company or organization that are a victim of status quo bias.
“we’ve always done it that way”
In the agile development methodology, there is a concept called the ‘retrospective’, sometimes called lessons learned. It is a process that serves to look at the activities of the last several weeks (called a sprint) and determine what worked well and what didn’t work well.
At it’s core, the concept is designed to challenge status quo bias.
The question is— within your process, what can be defined as a sprint?
How can you build in a process at the end of each sprint to challenge the status quo?
Ask yourself what worked and what didn't for each sprint. Then look for something that you can do differently to improve the process. At the next sprint, you’ll review again and find out if your change lead to improvement.
Something I fundamentally believe is:
Positive Mindset + Effort = Achievement
Positive Mindset Only = Rosey Glasses
Mindset takes effort in order to make a difference in your life.
Another thing I believe: Mindset and Assumptions are cousins. Let me explain:
Assumptions are a set of beliefs or rules that have gone unsaid. These unacknowledged beliefs may be different than someone else’s or different than reality, which can lead you to take a wrong action.
Mindset is similar – you can make decisions and take actions everyday based on your mindset. An un-examined or unacknowledged mindset can drive you to take wrong actions.
Understanding your mindset is critical in order to recognize the actions you are taking. There are 2 types of mindset:
When you believe you either ‘have it’ or you don’t. What you have is what you have, so no additional effort is required. This mindset is about the outcome.
When you believe there is always room to learn. That what you were born with is just a starting point. This mindset is about the experience.
We all have times when we get into a funk – something in our life isn’t where we want it to be – our job, our marriage, or community involvement. When the funk is about your job, we sometimes call it the Sunday Night Blues.
So, how do you get out of the funk? The goal is to become unstuck.
Step 1: Recognize that you are feeling stuck
Getting stuck usually happens little by little, and you don’t always recognize that you are feeling stuck.
Step 2: Focus on the objective of getting unstuck
Tell yourself that getting unstuck is possible. Say it out loud. It helps with your mindset.
Step 3: Figure out what is causing you to be stuck
You may need to dig deep. The reason may not be obvious at first.
Step 4: Take Action
Use your unconscious mind to help you solve the problem.
Don’t wait until you know the answer to start moving in the right direction.
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We all have a list of goals longer than the amount of time we have to be able to accomplish them. This can be overwhelming and even discouraging.
In this episode, we are going to cover 4 tips that can help you make sense of your goals.
Someday Maybe List
A list of all of the ideas that you have but that you can’t get to immediately.
· Keep one list for work and a separate one for the rest of your life. When you change jobs, the one for your work can just be tossed.
· At least once per year, review the list to remove anything that you’ve already accomplished or that isn’t relevant anymore. In addition, determine if there is anything on the Someday/Maybe List that should be moved to your current projects list.
Get Clear About Your Priorities
Create a North Start List. What are the areas of your life that you must fulfill?
· Family obligations
· Work obligations
· Community obligations
· Personal obligations
Every goal you undertake needs to tie back to your North Start List.
Review Episode 1: North Star List
Understand What Type of Goal it is
“Why” Goals: Goals where you need motivation to keep you moving toward your goal
· Longer term
· Future oriented
For example: I want to lose weight so that I have more energy to play with the grandkids.
“What” Goals: Goals that are more concrete, difficult, or complex
· Detail oriented
· Shorter in duration
· Happening in the near future
For example: I am going to eat 3 vegetables today.
Know When to Give Up
Finding the balance between persistence and knowing when to give up is not easy. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to help you determine if you’ve reached the point where it may make sense to give up on a goal:
1. Is it a good use of your time? Given the limited amount of we all have, is this something that you should continue to invest your time in?
2. Is it costing you too much? Money, relationships, or some other opportunity cost. When you got into this goal, did you realize how much it would cost you? If you had know, would you have made the same decision to pursue the goal?
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Words matter. The language you use matters. It impacts your mindset. It gives you a definition of yourself that can become limiting.
Have you ever noticed the different ways that waiters introduce themselves to you?
“I’m Rachel, and I’ll be your server tonight.”
“I’m Rachel, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight.”
A subtle difference, but one communicates that my responsibility is to serve you your food and the other communicates that my responsibility is to take care of you – completely.
Have you ever said, or heard someone say ‘I’m bad at math”? What does that tell you? Do they know that it takes 4 quarters to make a dollar? Do they know calculus? For most of us, knowing calculus isn’t important or necessary for our daily lives. So -if you don’t need to know calculus and you don’t know calculus, then why would you say you are bad at math?
Become aware of the words you use. How do they impact your mindset? What do they communicate to others about you? Are they serving you well?
I teach people how to thrive at work. Let's connect on LinkedIn
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