Halelly's 5A Formula for saying no without making enemies

Halelly's 5A Formula for saying no without making enemies

[Note: if you like to listen to learn, this post is also a podcast episode. Listen to it on episode 87!]

If you have a tendency to say Yes too much (we discussed why you shouldn’t in episode 82 of the TalentGrow Show podcast), or have a hard time saying No to requests from your boss, co-workers, employees, clients, or even in your personal life, then this blog post is for you.

Read on to learn some of the typical reasons we are reluctant to say No, some totally legitimate reasons why you should be saying No, and how to do it in a way that protects your time, independence, integrity, and your relationships and trust using my 5A Formula for Saying No.

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3 tricks for breaking through procrastination

3 tricks for breaking through procrastination

Ever struggle with procrastination on important, but not urgent, projects or tasks? Many of my clients do, and I do as well. In this short vlog, I share three actionable tricks that can help you break through your procrastination to achieve those important results that can add value to your business or personal life.

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Leaders: Don’t let your meetings suck!

Leaders: Don’t let your meetings suck!

Too many leaders let their meetings suck.

They have meetings that aren’t necessary, and don’t have agendas or specified roles. Their meetings are too long, and they don’t invite the right people. They don’t ensure that meetings achieve their objectives as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Please. Please don’t be one of those leaders who let their meetings suck!

Here are some suggestions for what you can do instead, to have less crappy meetings where things actually get done.

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FOCUS: The secret to crushing your goals in 2016 and beyond

FOCUS: The secret to crushing your goals in 2016 and beyond

We are living in a world of always on, always connected, information overload and constant distractions. Meetings, emails, web surfing, social media, reacting to other people’s priorities, and saying ‘yes’ to requests that don’t get us closer to achieving our goals are just some of the ways we get seduced into doing work that ultimately doesn’t “move the needle”. It doesn’t move us closer to achieving our goals.

I certainly struggle with achieving focus and avoiding the incessant distractions. Here are some of the best ideas and tips from science and experts that can help us all make 2016 our best year yet.

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Bringing your Best Self to work

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Last week, I experienced a career highlight: I call it 'al-fresco learning' (outdoors, fresh air learning). Check out the scene in the photos. It was absolutely a joy to be in the Sarasota, Florida breezy afternoon sun, temperatures in the upper 60s, surrounded by palm trees, lawns, the pool and the bay.

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But wait, there's more!

As if the surroundings and atmosphere weren't perfect enough, I was lucky enough to be doing GREAT work. It was my role to coach a group of 11 smart, engaged, and successful managers on what it means to be at their Best Self, at work. This is a subject about which I am VERY passionate. I truly believe that each of us has special gifts and strengths, and we should strive to leverage, optimize, and maximize them at work -- daily! It was wonderful to be working for a client who also believes this and is willing to invest in helping their employees get this right.

I want to share with you the exercise we worked on.

How to Bring your Best Self to Work

Take out a notebook, journal, or your favorite word processor and complete the following sentence:

 

"When I'm at my Best Self, I am..."

 

Some examples may include

 

"...adding value by suggesting creative, outside-the-box ideas to solve problems or improve products, services, or processes."

"...collaborating with others to create synergistic solutions."

"...focused and calm."

"...thinking about serving others."

 

 

List some of the potential and actual barriers to being your best self at work. What might get in your way of being creative and thinking outside-the-box, for example? Perhaps barriers for you include self-sensoring and being too critical of yourself, or maybe it's not getting enough creativity-stimulating inputs from fresh and divergent sources. If being focused and calm is how you want to be, for example, then maybe your barriers include having a very noisy environment, or not having a clear plan for your day's work.

 

 

Devise three specific routines, or habits, that you will incorporate into your daily and weekly work to help ensure you are bring your best self out as much as possible. Be specific, and phrase them in the positive (i.e., say what you will do instead of what you will avoid or stop doing).

 

For example, you might say, "I will read three articles each week from other industries or other professional fields to diversify my perspective and generate new insights into existing problems." Or, "I will close my door for a 90-minute stretch each morning at 10:00 a.m. and dedicated uninterrupted energy and attention to a highly important focus project."

 

 

Create accountability structures. How will you stay true to what you have committed to and how will you track your progress? Consider enlisting an accountability buddy or a peer coach to help you keep yourself accountable and stick to your plan. Another method is to keep a journal of your progress and reflect on your accomplishments and challenges.

 

 

What do you think? Are you bringing your best self to work? Do you know what it takes? What are your challenges and successes? I'd love to hear about it!


Sign up to my free weekly newsletter and get more actionable tips and ideas for making yourself a better leader and a more effective communicator! It’s very short and relevant with quick tips, links, and news about leadership, communication, and self-development. Sign up now!

Also, subscribe to my podcast, The TalentGrow Show, on iTunes to always be the first in the know about new episodes of The TalentGrow Show! http://apple.co/1NiWyZo

You Might Also Like These Posts:

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4 reasons to say NO to mediocrity

Recent publications by Halelly Azulay

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Whoever said things slow down in the summertime did not check in with me... not true here! Gratefully, I've been super busy with work and with arranging to speak about Employee Development on a Shoestring to new audiences around the nation. I'm happy to be busy!

Recently, ASTD featured not one, but two articles of mine on their member newsletter, ASTD Links. One provides five useful tips on how other consultants, like me, can continue to increase their productivity. The other features an excerpt from chapter five of my book - the chapter that describes how mentoring and being mentored can each be helpful employee development methods. I hope you check these articles out!

August is the month I usually take time to rejuvenate and vacation. Are you scheduling a time to disconnect and renew? It will pay back dividends, I'm told... See you in a couple of weeks and Happy Summer!

~Halelly

Photo by Dene' (Seattle) Miles via Flickr Creative Commons


Sign up to my free weekly newsletter and get more actionable tips and ideas for making yourself a better leader and a more effective communicator! It’s very short and relevant with quick tips, links, and news about leadership, communication, and self-development. Sign up now!

Also, subscribe to my podcast, The TalentGrow Show, on iTunes to always be the first in the know about new episodes of The TalentGrow Show! http://apple.co/1NiWyZo

You Might Also Like These Posts:

Employee Development Done Right: ASTD Interviews Halelly Azulay

Employee Development on a Shoestring on Top Ten Summer Reading List

Summer reading for life-long learners: 5 books to inspire, inform, and intrigue the non-fiction crowd

The 20-Hour Workweek? The 4-Hour Workweek?

U.S. workers are notorious for taking the least vacation and working the longest hours, with considerable consequences.  There's a lot of talk lately about a backlash from the over-worked American professional. A report from consulting firm Gartner, Inc., announces the coming of the 20-hour workweek, via what Gartner calls 'digital free agency'.  “Retiring baby boomers, working-age mothers and Generation X workers are seeking better work/life balance to juggle personal, family and community responsibilities,” according to Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner. By switching from 40 hours to a shorter schedule, this new reseach report proclaims, organizations will be better able to attract and retain qualified people.

Another counter-culture voice that has been gaining media attention is that of best-selling author Timothy Ferriss in his controversial new book, The 4-Hour Workweek. I've been reading this book with interest. Ferriss recommends outsourcing your personal and work life as much as possible, ruthlessly weeding out time-wasters such as unnecessary email checking and writing, incorporating mini-retirements throughout your working life instead of hoarding all that freedom to the end of your career, and valuing productivity and results over mere presence at your desk and clocking in those hours at the office. I think that the reason he is getting as much buzz as he has been is because he has tapped a raw nerve in us: we know that we are on the big rat-wheel and that something is terribly wrong, but many of us are not sure how to get off or what will await us if we do.

Recently, I read an interesting case study about how Best Buy actually has begun implementing a shift from defining employee productivity by time to defining it by results. According to a report in Workforce Management, "Best Buy's Results-Only Work Environment, or ROWE, [is] a radical experiment whose aim is to reshape the corporate workplace, achieve an unparalleled degree of work/life balance and redefine the very nature of work itself. In ROWE ...employees are allowed to decide how, when and where they get the job done. Whether they choose to work in the office or somewhere else, such as a spare bedroom, salaried employees are required to put in only as much time as it actually takes to do their work. "

Does it work? Gladly, it seems the answer is "Yes!".  ROWE has already had a significant impact. According to surveys of employees in divisions that have converted to ROWE, they have better relationships with family and friends, feel greater loyalty to the company, and report feeling more focused and energized about their work. We now know that employee engagement leads to higher retention and greater performance, which leads to bottom-line improvements in productivity, innovation, and customer satisfaction. According to the report, "[t]he per-employee cost of turnover is $102,000, and ROWE teams have 3.2 percent less voluntary turnover than non-ROWE teams. So once Best Buy's 4,000-person headquarters is completely converted to ROWE, the company stands to save about $13 million a year in replacement costs. Also, when workers switch to ROWE, their productivity jumps by 35 percent." Not bad!

So, even if you can't immediately cut your workweek in half, what changes will you be making to shrink your workweek and increase productivity and satisfaction?  Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Evaluate how you spend your time: try tracking how you spend your time over the period of 3-5 work days. How much time did you spend on checking email? Responding to email? In planned meetings? Ad-hoc meetings? Dealing with various interruptions and unplanned conversations? Surfing the Internet or going for snacks/beverages/etc.? Planning and strategizing? When you track your time (I suggest creating a matrix), you can better see some patterns emerging.

  • Clarify your goals and how your will measure success. If you are not clear about your direction and endpoint, you will not get there quickly and may never make it at all.

  • Prioritize and plan: Decide what activities are mission-critical for you, for your organization, for your team. Look at everything you do with an eye to the end-in-mind: Will this support my goals? Will my engaging in this activity right now bring me closer to achieving these goals? If not, don't do it! Find ways to make time for activities that are more strategic and pensive in nature, which usually don't present themselves as 'burning fires' for you to extinguish, and which, when neglected, can cause great loss of time and bring frustration and lack of efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Evaluate and correct: Take time to periodically (and regularly) evaluate your efficiency and effectiveness and apply course-corrections. Don't wait until the end of a project or year-end appraisals to look back at your performance -- by then it's too late. And, deduce lessons-learned from your current progress so you can apply these learning pearls to future planning as wise improvements.

Sign up to my free weekly newsletter and get more actionable tips and ideas for making yourself a better leader and a more effective communicator! It’s very short and relevant with quick tips, links, and news about leadership, communication, and self-development. Sign up now!

Also, subscribe to my podcast, The TalentGrow Show, on iTunes to always be the first in the know about new episodes of The TalentGrow Show! http://apple.co/1NiWyZo

You Might Also Like These Posts:

Empowering Employees: The Most Laissez-Faire Employee Handbook I've Ever Seen

Bringing your Best Self to work

Dumping Perfectionism for Wholehearted Living