Intentions are Great, But Its the Results that Matter

“Some of us will do our jobs and some will not, but we will be judged only by one thing – THE RESULTS”

Vince Lombardi

I’m a Packer fan and as a little girl I remember watching Vince Lombardi with his fedora and overcoat standing on the sidelines, clipboard in hand coaching his team.  Of course at that time I had no idea what he was doing I only knew that when the players wearing the gold and green did certain things, the family stood up and cheered.  The camera would be on the players one minute and the next it would be showing Coach Lombardi.   Certainly this man was powerful to make the players perform so well.

We all set out with an intention and that intention requires an effort.  The attitude we go in with can affect the result.  These three concepts are often confused by employees and managers.   Effort is how hard I try.  Intentions are the expectations you hoped for and Results are what you achieved.

A person can have the best intentions and apply their effort until they are blue in the face and still not gain the results they hoped for.  We all work to improve and in the end we are responsible for our own performance.  It doesn’t matter how long you have been doing something a certain way, if it isn’t producing the desired result, its time to find a better way.

I started a new workout program and have the best intentions of getting more fit then I have been in years.  I am putting in effort and giving it my all each day.  I am hoping to get the results I am seeking.  However, I am not doing this alone.  I have a support system around me that provides encouragement and perspective.  My transformation will not happen over night and I know it takes hard work and dedication.  But, I have the right attitude and attitude is everything.

None of us can expect results if we don’t have the proper tools.  Check your tool box and see what you need.  Think of these tools:

  1. Support
  2. Communication
  3. Commitment
  4. Motivation
  5. Relationships
  6. Follow Through
  7. Discipline
  8. A teacher/mentor/coach

If you are missing any it could be the reason why you are not getting the results you want.

Strategy is Everything- Know Where You are Going and Why!

When we are so eager to get to the end results we forget to observe the road signs that  guide us, danger could await.  Everything we do requires a strategic plan.  Some plans are pages long and require months to formulate.  These types of plans are detailed and every step of the process is purposefully planned.  Other strategic plans are shorter and may be in bullet format.   Determining  what needs to be accomplished will dictate how detailed the plan needs to be.  However, taking off down the road without knowing how you are going to get there is dangerous.

Within any business there are the dreamers, the planners, and the implementors and it takes all types to successfully run a business.  Rarely are the dreamers the same people who are the implementors just as the implementors are not necessarily the best dreamers. Know your strength and then play to that strength and hire the person that provides the skills that you lack.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs are eager for success and will take off down the road well-intentioned, but not knowing how they are going to get where they “think” they want to go.  There are only  so many hours in day, resources to do the job and money to put towards growing the business.

A strategic plan provides the following information:

  1. Identifies the intention  or the purpose.  What is the reason you are doing something and what is the anticipated expectation from this action.   Are you placing an ad in a trade magazine and what do you anticipate will happen from the ad. If you are expecting increased sales, do you have the manpower to handle the new orders?  Remember, there are the dreamers that want to more into uncharted territories, but you need the implementors to fulfill on the expectations.
  2. Set up the goals you need to accomplish to reach your intention or purpose.
  3. Identifying the approaches you will take to reach the goals that then satisfy the intent or purpose.  Break down the things that need to be done.  This is where you may want to use bullets or outline format.
  4. Enlist action plans that you will take to reach the goals. For each action what steps need to be taken.  Identify the internal and external factors to this plan.
  5. Monitor the plan and make adjustments as needed along the way.

If you follow a plan (your road map) your trip will have purpose and you will be acting out of strategic thought rather than on a whim that could cost you time and money that you don’t have.

Where to Go for Free Learning and Development

When was the last time you took a training course or learned something new that you could apply to your job?  I know budgets are tight and companies are not sending their employees for training, they are not even allowing them to have training internally since we all know that the first cut to be made is the T&D budget. Yet employees still need and want to grow in their professions.

E-learning or electronic learning has taken the place of many campus taught courses and thank goodness employees at least have somewhere to go to keep their saws sharp. However, companies are not always producing content fast enough or updated enough to satisfy the needs of the employees.

Since most people use the internet to search for knowledge, I thought I would do an inquiry about learning.  I found the following free web sites that provide training.  There are more where these came from, but for demonstration purposes these work just fine.

Microsoft Application Training – Free

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/support/training-FX101782702.aspx

OSHA Training  – Free

http://www.free-training.com/

Computer Training Courses – Free

http://www.intelligentedu.com/cat1.html

I then did a search on “how to repair...” , “Learning a new…”, and “what is….”, I even tried, “where can I find information on….” and was presented with a plethora of information.

It goes without saying that we need to take control of our learning and development.  In the ‘good old days’ you would ask your boss, seek information from a library book or use an encyclopedia.  (When is the last time you even saw an encyclopedia?) We now have the wonderful tool called the internet.  At our finger tips is a wealth of information just waiting for us to click on the URL.

I am sure you already use the internet, but think of it for your training and development as well.  Take a moment to do a search for skills needed in your profession and see what you find.  Then set aside some time to take a training course!  When you are done with the course, share the knowledge with your peers and boss at work.  You will feel great knowing you are on top of your game and your peer and boss will be impressed as well.

(I do not endorse any of the sites provided, although I have taken courses through the Microsoft site, I have not done so with the others.)

Are Your Employees Committed? Are You?

Just because your employees have a job doesn’t mean that they are committed to they’re job or the company.  I have heard managers say that their employees should be happy their have a job in these tough times.  I don’t think those employees would disagree.  With unemployment in the double digits and the prospect of landing a new job once you have been laid off taking on average 6 months to find, who could argue that a person is happy to be employed.  Yet, that does not mean that these employees are committed.

Think of the damage being done by employees that are hunkered down, holding on to their jobs and merely going through the actions of  being productive.  I love the phrase, ” there is never a recession when it comes to leadership”. So unless you are an outstanding leader and motivating your employees, you may be faced with fearful employees motivated only by keeping their jobs!

So what can you do?  First and foremost, communicate.  Let the employees know what is happening with the company and be honest.  Tell them what the vision is and let them be a part of making it happen.  Let them know their value and importance in the vision and how their contributions will make an impact.  Then thank them for their work.  Recognize them for what they do and above all, let them have a voice in problem solving.  The employee on the front lines has a much better idea of what customers want, what employees need to do their job and what the “buzz” is in the office.

You can lead a horse to water, but getting them to drink the Kool Aid  is another thing.  Be a leader that people will follow, not because of your title, but because you respect your employees and have passion, commitment and focus to lead them to the next level.

What Brand Do People See In You?

Earlier this week I went to a presentation by Chris Bryant who is a Branding Strategist.  Let me share with you some of the things that we all forget at times. Every day we are seen by people who are making up their mind whether we are friend or foe. Can you be trusted, are we loyal, do we have their best interest at heart?  Who we are goes beyond what we do.  We have a career, we have a job and then we have ourselves.  Who are we and what do we want people to see, hear and say about us?

1.  Make meaningful connections and make sure that you are more interested in hearing the other person’s story then telling your own.  How will you learn what they need or how you can help, if you are more interested in selling how good you are.  Remember, it’s about them, not you.  You are the person that can solve their problems so listen and make a meaningful connection.

2.  Within the first 7 seconds of a person seeing you they are making 11 assumptions!  What do you want them to assume about you?  How are you dressed, what are you saying, are you approachable, do you appear warm and friendly or cold and distant, are you self- confident?

3. Master your messaging and know your brand is constantly sending out messages.  Be a student of your industry and learn all you can.  Don’t just have a career or a job, but master your craft.  Be a craftsmen of your profession which makes you stand out from all the rest.

Just a short list but worth taking a few minutes to assess yourself and see where you might need to do a little or a lot of self-improvement.  You are a brand – now what do you want that brand to say about you.  Remember, everything about you speaks…. make sure its a good as it can be!

How to Use Technology to Your Advantage

I am a faculty member at the University of  Phoenix.  I have been for close to 10 years.  I teach courses in management and critical thinking. I love connecting with the students and helping them to think outside the box.  These students are our future leaders who will dictate the course of industry.

I was teaching course online when most people were still concern about where technology would lead us.  Corporations were concerned that if they didn’t have employees in seats with a live instructor they would not learn.  I will be the first to agree that there are times when a face to face encounter is the best.  However, I have enjoyed the diversity of having students located all around the world in one class. Talk about knowledge sharing and eye-opening experiences.

I recently came across another “breaking the mold” opportunity.  Video email.  What an advancement that allows you to say your message as if you were in the same room with the person.  Check out Eyejot to see samples of what is to come.  Remember when we all thought that Jetson’s was futuristic?   We have come a long way baby!