The famous political economist and author, Lester Thurow points out that a competitive world has two possibilities for you. “You can lose or if you want to win you can change.” Once you develop a plan and put it into action, you’re not finished, your success lies within the journey. As you begin to walk towards success, you will come across obstacles and showstoppers that can impede your progress. This is expected, don’t be deterred.
In my book, “Enemy in the Bush”, I talk about success as a progressive (steady) realization of a worthy idea or goal. The key word is progressive, meaning (continuous, daily, growth) towards goal attainment. It starts out with planning, determination, and consistent daily efforts toward your destination, and along the way, success is realized. Along the way, mistakes will happen, errors will be made, and setbacks will occur on your path. However, remember that failures are milestones on the success journey. “Each time you plan risk, fail, reevaluate, and adjust, you have another opportunity to begin again, only better than the last time.”
I heard a story about Thomas Edison. While he and his assistant were looking at his laboratory burned to the ground, he said, “Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up; now we can start again fresh.” This reminds me of a quote from Les Brown, “when life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up.”
Give up on the notion of ever arriving at success unscathed or untouchable, “success is always an uphill battle.”-John Maxwell
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An exciting article from Your Workplace, welcome your comments
For years, Your Workplace has touted the importance of work-life balance. We even made it part of our corporate values statement. If balancing work on the one hand with life on the other was a cause to uphold, then I was the champion in our workplace — and one of its biggest proponents beyond our walls as well.
But like all movements toward change, we usually have to endorse an extreme version of it first, ensuring momentum is created to make that change occur. Eventually, the extreme version gives way to a more moderate stance and ultimately settles somewhere in the middle. And a movement away from the concept of work-life balance is no exception.
If it is better for you to attend a parent’s appointment at 1pm and finish a report at 6am, then do it.
The notion that we each have two separate lives — one work and one life — requiring different treatment is unreasonable. The long-held notion of ensuring your personal life does not suffer at the expense of your work responsibilities, by compartmentalizing each to ensure carefully walking the fine line between the two, is obsolete. In order to find the right balance, the proper amount of time must be given to allow things to settle to a more “natural” stage. By pitting work against life there is an implication that work is the negative experience and life is the positive one. Why should work be perceived as negative? We spend the bulk of our waking hours at work, earning a living to support ourselves and our family. The experience should be enriching, and if not that, at least a reality within our lives.
We have to let go of the unachievable idea of work-life balance and start looking at things with a more individualistic lens. We are singular whole people, and every effort or action we take should be rooted in approaching each other holistically.
Whether you are grocery shopping, preparing a presentation, chairing a meeting, taking an elderly parent to an appointment, dealing with being short-staffed, going for a brisk walk at lunch or cheering on your child’s soccer game, it should be understood that it all makes up the threads of the tapestry of our very existence.
Isolating work from life is not only impossible but it places enormous strain, anxiety and tension on an unachievable goal.
Life is fluid and organic. We no longer have to compartmentalize the difference aspects of our selves. We no longer have to balance one against the other. We can have it all. Breaking down time to do work between 8am to 4pm, dinner from 5pm to 6pm, kids homework (or sport) from 6pm to 8pm or whatever your formula is, needs to stop. If it works for you, fine. But if it is better for you to attend a parent’s appointment at 1pm and finish a report at 6am, then do it. We are responsible adults after all.
Think about what is important to you. Make a list and prioritize.
The needs of individuals are constantly shifting. Allowing the whole person to show up at work (and at home) requires an investment in understanding mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
Who you are is who you are everywhere. No matter where you go, there you are, so it’s important to integrate work and life together rather than separating the different aspects of self in order to fit some pre-determined label of how work and life are supposed to exist.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edges unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.”
Setting out to accomplish any goal without the necessary skills or tools is like trying to chop wood with a dull ax. You must overcompensate your efforts by applying more strength and muscle to accomplish the task, requiring additional time and energy. The duller the ax, the stronger the effort and the less efficiency involved.
Developing your leadership skills is critical at every level within any workplace or organization. Why? Because these aptitudes contribute to a healthy and effective workplace culture. In fact, 83% of organizations state the importance of cultivating leadership at all levels within the workplace hierarchy.
Yet, many also express their leaders are simply not ready to helm the organization. Despite the widespread availability of comprehensive leadership books and programs, people often lack the skills needed to lead an organization at any level.
These considerations bring me back to my military days. I initially did so well when tasked with an assignment to turn around inadequate conditions and boost morale amongst soldiers by helping them acquire new skills and abilities. Eventually accomplishing this goal, I was overjoyed to see the soldiers so proud of themselves. I went on to believe my next assignment would offer a chance to relax and relieve the pressures of my last one: only to find that I was embarking on a new challenge even more demanding than the last. With each new rank and level of responsibility came an even greater test. It was during these times that I realized the Army wanted me to excel and develop my skills at a higher echelon: with my superiors not only expecting elevated levels of proficiency and competency but also encouraging continuous learning and the application of related skills to accomplish any given mission. Hence, the Army was seemingly more interested in my leadership development than my ability to learn new tasks I’d only go on to forget months later.
There’s a difference between learning new skills and developing them as a leader within an organization—as new learning adds new skills to the toolbox that are further honed and utilized for their intended purpose. In essence, this helps leaders solve diverse problems facing any organization. Development inspires leaders to take on all challenges presented with the right mindset and a passion to train others to resolve problems, as well. This is even more true in the diverse and fast-paced world we live in today.
As leaders in the workplace (or even as parents in our homes), we need to sharpen our tools so they are ready to tackle any given challenge and ultimately summon the best return and reward for our efforts. With respect to leadership, this means developing related skills to influence those around you. As a parent, improving leadership aptitudes can bring everyone closer as a family and result in more congenial conditions at home.
To quote John Maxwell, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” As a leader, if you lack the skills needed to successfully execute this role, sharpen your ax through education, training, and professional development. Likewise, as a parent, sharpen your ax by developing effective communication strategies with your family members, improving your listening skills, and serving as a role model for those you love.
Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1997, have become the focus of many demographic studies. Because they range in age from 18-34, millennials are studied for their impact on spending habits, shopping experiences, and business and employment (Pew, 2015). They’re a huge part of the workforce but are also the generation most likely to eschew the traditional workplace in favor of starting their own businesses, investing in startups, and working from home rather than in a traditional office setting.
They’re also amazingly tech savvy and can help older companies and corporation integrate into society’s existing tech environment. Not like older generations such as the baby boomers, millennials never knew a time period without computers, cell phones or the internet, technology was always present in their lives, it’s in their DNA (Marston, 2007).
1. Integrate Flexibility
Most millennials view strict adherence to a 9-5, in-office work schedule as outdated. Just as they thrive in casual work environments, they often prefer work hours and work locations that are less rigid than in previous generations. Consider allowing millennial employees to telecommute, freelance, trade shifts, and shorten work weeks. The goal, after all, is to get the job done, and allowing these employees to exercise flexibility might produce surprisingly consistent productivity.
2. Integrate Coaching & Collaboration
Millennials typically prefer not to work in a setting where they’re micromanaged. When employers guide and direct, yet leave room for personal development and self-management, millennials respond more favorably. Like 9-5 corporations of past generations, today’s companies want to reap the greatest productivity from their employees. Encouraging creativity, input, and team building will reap mutually beneficial results and allow millennials to feel valued.
3. Integrate Their Lifestyle
While devoted to their jobs and careers, Millennials hold a firm belief in a work-life balance. They thrive in companies that offer flexibility, paid time off, personal days, family leave, and emergency leave. Involvement in family activities and lifestyle and community events is important to them. They look for companies that allow employees to foster a well-rounded life and have time for friends, family and social events.
4. Integrate Growth Practices
Millennials appreciate opportunities to advance their careers – they may even look for opportunities to buy into the companies that employ them. They prefer careers with an upward trajectory to ones that remain stagnant with little to no possibility of growth or advancement. Instead, they have a greater interest in a company they can grow with or grow into.
5. Integrate Company Culture
The millennial generation isn’t always as matter-of-fact about accepting the existing climate of their workplace as previous generations. They look for clearly defined company cultures and principles. When those principles are clearly integrated into their work environment and into the products and services they offer, this generation will thrive. Rather than a faceless, personality-less corporation, this generation of employees prefers a business with a social conscience that has an impact on its community and on society.
Successfully incorporating millennials into your business means preparing them for today and for tomorrow. When they learn to lift as they climb, your company gets the best Generation Y (Millennials) have to offer, while simultaneously preparing Generation Z for the future. At the same time, they’re learning best practices from Baby Boomers and creating a generationally diverse workforce. That constitutes a win-win for everyone.
Do you add value to your people, employees, or team members? Or do you manipulate them?
Let’s look at both: adding value to employees, versus manipulating them for your advantage. Both start with attitude. Our attitude determines whether we will succeed or fail. The attitude of a leader, especially within the workplace or the organization, is contagious. It will send either a negative or positive message to employees. Your employees will react either way. Your actions speak louder than words.
Everything starts within the mind. Your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, which form your attitude, are displayed in front of people. If you think people are lazy, always looking for a handout, and should be grateful for just having a job, your attitude may be clouding up a possibly good environment. In this case, your attempts to motivate your people and add value to them will be null and void.
To quote Les Giblin: “You cannot make the other fellow feel important in your presence if you secretly feel that he is a nobody.” This is a great lesson. Just think about that when you find it difficult to acknowledge people or find it difficult to trust and believe in them. You can’t motivate or trick them into believing you have their best interests at heart. People are not fooled by hypocritical behavior. Therefore, when the opportunity presents itself, they will leave the company, organization, or directorate. People leave people, not organizations.
A leader who shows that he genuinely wants to add value to his people is valuable to the company and its culture. So try to see your employees in a positive light. In the morning, when I first see my team, I smile. Then I say, “Good Morning! Glad to see you.” It is genuine and from the heart. Try to create a pleasant atmosphere before starting your day.
So, how do you add value?
When I was leading hundreds of soldiers or employees, doing small things that were memorable to the people I led went a long way. I remembered their birthdays, kids’ names, hobbies, or something personal and unique to them.
To quote John Maxwell, people don’t care how much you know, they care about how much you care about them.
When you value people, you look out for their interests, you empower them, and you help them to grow both personally and professionally. Sydney J. Harris says, “People want to be appreciated, not impressed.” First and foremost, adding value to people means valuing people. I wish my leaders had learned this lesson. I would be telling you about memorable experiences instead of anguishing ones.