To make the best of 2018 we have stop and ask questions about the year that has just passed.
Take time to think about the answers to the following questions:-
- What were the 5 best days in 2017?
- List 3 achievements in 2017
- Who were the people in 2017 who cared and supported you?
Creating a plan for 2018 is easier once you have the answers to 2017:-
- Holidays that you are going to take, where and when?
- 3 Big goals that you are going to undertake
- Days and events that you would like to happen (might be replicating some of your best days in 2017)
- Ask yourself how do you want to feel in December 2018?
- Who are the key people you need around you in 2018?
The exercise is best done visually by using post-it notes so that you create a picture of both years beside each other.
We control our own destinies, make 2018 a fantastic year.
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Your best work gets done when it needs to be done, you have to want it and be ruthlessly intolerant. With clear priorities and focus you work on the right things at the right time.
Only YOU are accountable for getting “stuff” done. We find it easy to set monetary targets however we need to give the same priority to time targets. Unproductive people have no idea where their money has gone.
Success is about our behaviour and how we manage the time we have. Your goals and your achievements are compatible to your behaviour.
Each week think about what you want to achieve and put that as the heading of the week. Achievement underpins motivation and having one big goal for the week, will be you identifying what matters most that week.
David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done describes the process. If we can put all of our stuff in buckets, nothing gets lost and it is out of your head and into a system.
- Daily – the to do list, only what you can do that day (be realistic)
- Weekly – what is the biggest thing you want to achieve in the week
- Monthly – headings that give an indicator of how effective you were in the month
- Annually – year to view on one page, with your holidays and key dates
- Projects – present and future so that everything is captured
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The “C” word being Christmas.
The countdown to Christmas begins this Friday and it is like any other project it needs to be managed and the focus of what it means to you, must not be lost.
Stephen Covey’s time management exercise “What matters most” is a great way of looking at Christmas. Covey invites delegates to squeeze big rocks into gravel. The big rocks represent “what matters most in life” and the gravel is just “stuff” e.g. work.
The only way the exercise works is to put the big rocks in place first and then pour the gravel on top. Delegates have been known to sweat profusely trying to squeeze rocks into gravel. This feels uncomfortable and to be honest is how life feels when you lose focus on the things that matter most.
Focus on Christmas and work back, ensure you are spending it with the people who matter most and get all the “stuff” into perspective.
We have all done the Christmas Eve shop and regretted it afterwards when the person you care about most is surprised and disappointed.
The biggest rock at the moment is Christmas, so therefore make it your priority.
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The media is awash since the Harvey Weinstein of abuse cases and how do you determine the line that people cross.
My own experiences has measured my thoughts around appropriate and inappropriate.
In my early 20’s I went for an interview to work with a very well successful businessman. With hindsight this first introduction to him should have been a warning of what was to come, the level of control. I was asked to wipe off my lipstick (my trademark bright pink). This felt very odd, and I had lots of time to reflect on this instruction as I was left in a room for a very long period to wait for the “big man”. Looking back I think I was being watched and the whole situation was a test.
I got the job without the lipstick which I was still advised to hold back on.
The prestige of working for the company and the man himself let me initially enjoy the situation. It became apparent that it was not business as normal. Five secretaries to one PA, could easily tell you that we were just ever slightly over manned.
We would be rewarded with money for carrying a brief case, however in the process the wandering hands went too far. Sex toys would be placed on our desks to see our reaction, and I was particularly naive.
I left after 6 months and the first thing I did was make sure my lipstick was brighter than ever. The resilient pink continues and I know where the line is for me.
I ask myself would I want my daughter to be humiliated and lose confidence due to an individual who believed fame and money would protect him.
Arriving at meeting last week there was lots of banter about whether we could greet each other with hug. I laughed with the group, however I was delighted that there is now thinking around personal space. My own example is somewhat extreme, however there are levels within everything and there is always a line to cross or not to cross.
We can create a better place and be resilient with or without pink lipstick.
“We must lead emails rather than them leading us…” Bev Wilkinson
Being effective with email management is how you behave around emails rather than the simple processing. We need to set ground rules and set up rituals and habits that fit with our lives. We can control it rather than it control us.
Dan Pink’s book – “To Sell is Human”, listed the number of emails he received in two weeks:-
To improve organisational effectiveness is not too focus on the number or volume. The attention should be on clear guidelines as to how you manage your in-box.
There is no easy way and the whole idea of personal productivity means that it is personal to you. Systems need to be tweaked and adapted to work. Sharing ideas with team members can give you new ways of interacting with the screen.
If you look at an email 5 minutes before you go into a meeting you take that email into the meeting. Checking your email before you go to bed means that you will take that email to bed with you.
We can be effective by making choices that work for our lives, book an appointment with your emails as you would any other contact.
The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen suggests setting up sub folders that sit at the top of your other folders. This can easily be achieved by putting a # in front of the title:-
To be effective think about the rhythm of your day and decide when you want to manage your email. Relax that you don’t have to know everything all the time.
Being effective is the right processes for you.
More and more companies are moving towards a casual dress code. We often wear the right clothes to do the right job. You would never garden in your high heels, the trusted wellington boot is the footwear of choice.
If we are not wearing the right dress does it mean that our tone becomes more relaxed.
- Do we mind if the team use emojis in their emails?
- Use Hi instead of Dear
- Sign off with thanks or cheers
- Go straight into the email
- Put the content of the email in the subject box
- Use comic sans as a font
When dress codes change they often get misinterpreted, what is casual in my eyes might not be in some-one else’s eyes. There is an adjustment phase, some team members intentionally push the boundaries. Our clothes are very much a part of the image and the culture we belong in. They are easy to spot and give feedback on.
The tonality and content of your team emails are harder to spot.
Introduce guidelines of the tonality you expect and the look and appearance of your emails. They are often and the first contact with your company, ensure that it is the right image.
“People don’t read emails” or is it “People don’t read emails properly“.
How do you get your message across and how do you get noticed. We want to get attention for the right reasons.
I was recently asked to design and deliver a workshop on how to make email work for you. The client has had messages go out with “Hi” in the subject box.
Their brand and culture was very traditional and they felt their team did not reflect it in the way emails were worded and displayed. They wanted messages to match their culture and look and sound like the brand in essence the right voice. Overall their mantra was to sound “charming”.
The workshop was highly interactive with flip charts asking the questions what does good, bad and ugly look like from an email perspective. From the delegates answers you could ascertain how the company could change their email practices to have consistency and portray the right image.
The right voice is not just about the look of an email the tonality is key. We asked delegates to right email responses to common Client queries and looked at the language that was appropriate and inappropriate. The level of directness that is an assertive voice and the tipping point to aggression.
Practically we need to lead email rather than it lead us. The last part of the workshop explored how to manage it effectively.
When email entered the business world very few of us ever had training as to how to use it and very few companies provide guidelines. The standard signature template is as far as it goes. Think further are you happy for employees to use “Hi” or “Thanks” would you rather it was a “Kind regards”.
We have made a difference by working with organisations to get them to think about how much damage one email can do. With this one workshop “Making email work for you” we have given companies their brand back through email.
Please do get in touch to book a workshop on “Making email work for everyone…”