Beware of the Imposture!

I’ve seen it happen, someone that takes a bit of new knowledge and becomes the imposture that knows it all.  Perhaps you have encountered someone like this.  They take a seminar or read a book and all of a sudden they believe that they have all the answers and are a expert. They may even go so far as calling themselves a Coach,  Accountant, Photographer, or Interior Decorator.

I have a couple of theories for why people would purport to be an expert when they are clearly not.

  1. Imitation is a true form of flattery.  The imposture wants to be just like those that studied their craft, were schooled in their field and have taken the time and sometimes hard knocks to earn the title of expert.
  2. They are lost souls who have never found their way.  The imposture is looking for something that they can grab onto and call their own.  The subject matter may appeal to them and they have an interest, but they are not sure if this is a fleeting fancy.

As an educator and life long learner myself, I believe that finding new interests is wonderful. It is what keeps us active and engaged in life.  But, I would never purport to be a photograph because I use my Blackberry to take a picture.  I would never label myself as an Interior Designer because I made drapes for my kitchen window or…. you get the message.

It bothers me when I see people impersonating their careers.  Not only does it discredit those that are bonafide  professionals who are trying to make a living, but it hurts the customer or client that falls for the imposture’s sales pitch.

Beware of the imposture, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is!

Pyramid Of Success – Still Standing, Still Applies

When something is great you want to share.  The Los Angeles Times on Sunday, June 13, 2010 had a whole section dedicated to John Wooden, “Remembering John Wooden.  As I  read through this section I couldn’t help but notice a few things, one – the Woodism, or quotes by John Wooden will stand the test of  time.  They are are relevant now as they were when they were written, Two – this great man was loved and admired during his lifetime and will be loved and admired for many many more years to come. Three – his wisdom on and off the court demonstrates values that should apply to all aspects of our lives.   He lived his life with values and demonstrated those values in all that he did.

i know there is a lot being written now about John Wooden because of his greatness and his loss, but I felt compelled to share something of his life here as well.  Below are a few of the quotes by John Wooden:

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” Think of how things are going for you right now.  Are you doom and gloom or are you optimistic about the cards dealt and moving in the right direction.

The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”  I watched the final game last night and saw this principal in action when Bryant won his 5th title and hugged his teammate, Cosgol as he pointed his fingers at him in reference to all he did to support both him and the team.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Can you ever really know it all?  of course not and that is part of knowing it all!

“I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and little talent.” Know what you are good at.  You can’t be a ‘jack of all trades” or you really are a “master of none.”

“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings and the feelings of others before your own rights.”  This says is all.

click here for full version

The Pyramid of Success – I have seen variations of this throughout my career.  Many  followed Wooden’s lead and used the symbol of a pyramid to demonstrate their philosophies of leadership, career, strategic development and  business models.  What I didn’t realize is that his pyramid was also used to teach children values. Wooden wrote a poem  for each of the blocks of the pyramid in a manner that a child could relate to.  Below is the one on self-control:

If success is your great goal,

you must practice self-control

Use common sense in all you do.

Controlling emotions is helpful too.

I knew a fish who took the bait.

Good judgment gone, the hook he ate.

My friend was fried upon the grill.

With self-control, he’d be here still.

How do you top greatness?  Perhaps by living each day the best you can, with integrity, values, ethics and great spirit.

Networking Using Social Media

Why is it that people still believe that the only time they need to network is when they are looking for a job?  These same people also believe that the art of networking is telling someone you know that you are out of work and asking them if they know of anyone who is hiring.   I would agree that word of mouth is the best referral, but using this tactic is not the way to gain friends and influence people!

I see something daily about social media the likes of LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook and Twitter.  Let’s face it we are a technology driven world.  Where some want to resist using some or all of these means to network, others are using them in the wrong way, but more on that in another posting.  People need to understand that networking is staying connected.  It means taking an interest in what others are doing.  It is building and fostering relationships.    Back in the good old days you knew everyone in your town.  You sat at the corner cafe and talked for hours.  Now a days we use technology and tweet, text, email and SKYPE.  Why? All to stay connected.

If you are using any of the social media as a means to simply gather lists of names or followers, then you have missed the point.  Remember quality not quantity.  The other item to remember about networking is reciprocity.  President Kennedy said it well when he stated “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.  Networking is the same.  It is not only what others can do for you, but what can you do to help others.  Perhaps you know of the perfect person to fill a position that they have vacant.  Or you know of a great technology wizard that can help them with the computer problems, or a book, article or publication that they would like to read to stay engaged in their own careers.

If you would like to know how many people now use social media sites, click here. or click here for more information.  Staying engaged with people is part of our fabric of life.   Use these social media sites with care and build your network with the intent of staying engaged for the betterment of all.

Making Decisions and Problem Solving, Stress Relief

Problems, problems, problems.  We all have them and we all need to come up with solutions.  But how do you go about this task?  Do you rely on prior experience, make a pros and con list, procrastinate until the problem either takes care of itself because of your lack of action or do you pass the problem along to someone else and hope that they solve it for you?

The purpose of this entry is not to tell you things you already know, but to remind you of the tools that you have within your reach that you may have forgotten about.  When we were in school we learned all about the various problems solving methods, but somewhere along the way we fell into the habit of using the same method again and again. (let’s hope that method is not avoidance)

Stress is caused when we do not have a plan for solving the problems that enter into our lives.  Avoiding adds more stress.   Think of those things now that are nagging at you, keeping you up at night and what you are doing to take control.   It has been proven that the more stress we endure the less effective we are at solving our problems.   We can actually reinforce stress and thus make stress a habit.  Recall that a habit is “A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.” by not attending to the problem and reducing our stress we are making stress a habit in our lives.

There are numerous methods to solving problems.  Here are a few:

  1. talk  with someone you trust
  2. asking the five whys
  3. making a pros and cons list
  4. diagramming the problem,  i.e., -Venn , affinity, cause and effect
  5. SWOT and PEST analysis
  6. risk analysis
  7. flow charts
  8. appreciative inquiry

If you have forgotten any of these tools that are available to help you, you may just want to brush up on their concepts and add them to your own toolbox once again.

To a more peaceful life and better health, manage your stress!

Distributed Leadership, the Other Style of Leadership Practice

We tend to think of leadership as being one person that leads the troops through battle, to use a military metaphor.  We speak of a leader, the leader all in singular.  We expect the leader to know what to do and how to get it done.

Within the last 100 years there have been three various types of leadership practices or styles, traits approach, behavioral approach and situational approach.  Trait approach is focused on the physical traits of the leader – height, personality, intelligence, who the person is.  Behavioral approach – focusing on what the leader does more than on who they are. And Situational Approach – more adaptable to the task or job that needs to be accomplished.

We now can look at the evolved style of leadership practice, Distributed Leadership.  This style of leadership strips the theory of one leader making decisions in a vacuum and looks at the role of leadership as many, think shared leadership. …” leadership practice takes shape in the interactions of people and their situation, rather than from the actions of an individual leader.” (Spillane)

Distributed Leadership is a sharing of ideas, and handling of problems, threats and change.  It is based on the theory that the expertise that people have in their area of responsibility can assist in moving the process forward utilizing that knowledge. It is not delegating but tapping into that expertise. Not everyone is a decision maker but their input and expertise contributes to the decision making process.  Sharing in the same mission and utilizing this practice of leadership fosters trust, cooperation and loyalty.

I bring up Distribute Leadership now because of the changes our economy is whirling through and the possibility of one person having all the answers is unrealistic.  CEO’s have numerous people that they conference with to provide them with the details that they need to make the ultimate decision.  DL looks at those that are directly involved in an area where a decision has to be made and allows them a voice.  Perhaps two heads (or more) are better than one.

Friend, Co-Worker Do They Make A Good Mix?

At some point and time I always end up having a discuss with my clients that have been laid off  about their old “friends”.  When we are working day-to-day with someone they naturally become our extended family.  We have morning coffee with them, go on breaks with them, eat lunch with them and tell them what t.v. shows we will be watching that night.  As time goes on we find ourselves telling them things that we would tell our best friends.  We share family stories and invite them to our children’s  birthday parties.  We always know we have a party to go to around the holidays.

Ah, but then the day comes when through no fault of your own, you are let go from the company.  The old friends you shared so much with stop calling.  You are not invited to the parties and your phone calls are not returned promptly.  What happened?  Could it be that these work friends have found other people to full your role?

Actually, what brought you together is the same thing that has broken you apart.  When we are working side by side with someone for days, months and years on end, we form a social order with the person.  We are bound by the commonality of the job, company and sharing of the same personal interactions.  Utility is another way to describe this interaction.  You both needed something from the company, from the interaction and from each other.  At the time, you received what you needed.

The hurtful part for some people is when the separation happens and the friendship ends.  Many take it personally when they should not.  A question I ask of my client’s is this… ” If you met this person(s) outside of the work environment, would you want them to be your friend?”  If the answer is yes and then chances are you will both keep up the relationship after you have left the common work space.  If you answer no or not really, chances are neither of  you will make the effort to continue on with the relationship with the same force and frequency that you did when you worked together.

We are a social species.  We need interaction in order to be fulfilled.  When a person looses their job there is much more going on then the mere lost of work friendships.  However, when the people we associated with for so many hours are no longer a daily part of our life, it is also normal to feel a loss.

If you have experienced the lost of work friendships,  I would like to hear from you.  If you are the worker that remains and you are no longer in contact with the work “friends” you had, I would like to hear from.  Please share your thoughts.

Facts and Stats About the Brain

I did a bit of research on the brain and found the following facts that I thought you might enjoy.  Some of them are facts and statistics that we have heard before, but are well worth repeating.  As a coach, I explore the workings of the brain in my practice.  Change is difficult for many people and knowing that our brain looks for order and patterns, we have a better chance of making a positive shift or change that we desire.

  1. Our brain needs a continuous supply of oxygen.  Even a 10 minute lack of oxygen can cause significant neurological damage. Drowning victims exposed to extremely cold water have been reported to be revived after nearly 40 minutes because cold conditions can lengthen the time the brain can go without oxygen.
  2. Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity is the term to describe the fact that the  brain continues to produce new neurons throughout our lives. Stimulation and exercise aid in this production.
  3. Doctors can work on the brain while the patient is conscious because the brain has no pain functions.  The surgeon can have a dialog with the patient to identify regions of the brain such as speech.
  4. Your brain creates a hormone which “paralyzes” you so that you do  not physically act out our dreams.
  5. Memories triggers by scents such as perfume and cologne produce a stronger emotional connection which makes them appear more intense than other memory triggers.
  6. A study of one million new York students showed that those that ate ate lunches without additives such as artificial flavors, preservatives and dyes performed 14% better in IQ tests (source: environmental graffiti)
  7. Studies demonstrate that  50-70% of visits to a doctor for physical ailments can be traced to psychological reasons. A plus for positive thinkers!
  8. Your brain weighs approximately 3 pounds
  9. Your brain can survive 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen before it begins to die
  10. You will lose consciousness in 8-10 seconds due to blood loss