Slight Blips

This high-tech world we live in moves fast… and has a lot of wonderful tools to help folks be more efficient. Everyday there seems to be an innovation that makes people’s lives easier.

When you work for a large company, there’s an IT department on standby to help with challenges, especially integration of new apps or programs. When you’re self-employed and something doesn’t connect or work as intended, there’s… well… yourself… or a “we’re assisting other customers and will be with you as soon as we can” help line.

Over the past two decades, I’ve spent many hours on hold and many more speaking with support professionals… trying to explain exactly what my issue is so they can try to fix it. Often this happens following a software update. My current conundrum is trying to get my iMac calendar and Apple Mail to connect with MS Exchange, which one of my clients uses. If the way those two products get along is a reflection of the relationship between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, I’m certain they didn’t like each other. (Don’t get me started on Teams!)

The best solution would be a teenager living at home. These things come naturally at that age. Unfortunately, our last one moved out seven years ago, so I wander alone in the technology desert. Guess it’s time to break down and pay a pro to help me resolve the issue. 

Now that I think about it, that’s why people hire me 


Step Up

It seems a lot of people I speak with are doing more and more and more at their organizations – whether because ‘it’s hard to find people these days’ or ‘we’re not filling positions when someone leaves.’ One of my clients told me last week: “If you do a good job here at your job, you get someone else’s job to do.”

At some places, this approach could be a signal to lay low, do just enough to get by and let others pick up the extra slack. Elsewhere, it could be an opportunity to take on new challenges, display previously unknown skills, or set yourself up for a promotion.

Doing the work of three people isn’t sustainable forever – and no one wants to be taken advantage of; however, in the short-term, it might be worth the extra hours and energy drain. 


Forward Motion

Whenever I meet another coach – especially new ones in this art – I’m quick to offer any guidance or materials I have that might help them. So many people helped me learn and grow during four careers that I can’t imagine not sharing anything I have with someone.

A few weeks ago I spoke with a person who’s been coaching for a short time, then sent her several redacted documents to use: project agreement, introductory emails, role definitions, feedback report, development plan, progress tracking. The next time we spoke she said: “I can’t believe you did that. Some other coaches I’ve met protect those things like they’re gold.”

I told her that approach doesn’t make sense to me. Operating from a place of abundance just seems like the right thing to do. It solidifies a relationship… and I’ve found it always comes back to me many times over. I gain more than I give.

Right now I’m working on a project that involves something I haven’t done in many years. When I contacted two coaches I’ve mentored for several years and asked for help, they quickly responded: “Of course, whatever you need. I’m there.” 


Fast Start

When an individual leaves an organization, HR will often conduct an exit interview to learn the primary reasons for their departure. The responses range from ‘it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up’ (heard that from a client just last week), to ‘this isn’t a healthy environment for me’ (heard that from a client just last month). The insights gained from these meetings provide an opportunity for the employee to be heard… and for the company to learn.

There is a new twist on this, recommended by business guru Adam Grant: an entry interview. He posted a LinkedIn video where he proposed they are a great way to make the onboarding experience meaningful. “I’m seeing a lot of CEOs scramble and say, ‘OK, we’ve got to do exit interviews to figure out from the people who actually left what we can do to keep the people we want to stay.’ I’m a big fan of exit interviews–there’s just one little issue; it is the dumbest time to run them. Why would you wait until people have already committed to walk out the door to say, if only I had a time machine, I would go back to the past and convince you to stay?”

While an entry interview for someone you just hired might seem repetitive, Grant believes the answers you receive may be more open and revealing, since people are more relaxed and less concerned about making a good impression. As for questions to ask, he says many of the same ones as the hiring interview are valuable: ‘Why are you here?’ ‘What are you hoping to learn?’ ‘What are some of the best projects you’ve worked on?’ ‘Tell me about the worst boss you’ve ever had.’ So you can try to emulate the good and avoid the bad.”

Next time you hire a new employee, think about conducting an entry interview. You might learn some things that are so valuable you’ll never have to see them in the exit interview queue. 


Why First

In September 2009, Simon Sinek gave a now legendary 18-minute TED Talk: “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. It’s one of the five most watched with more than 60 million viewings. A month later he released the bestselling book START WITH WHY.

Soon after, Dr. Gary Sanchez, a dentist who loved the idea of WHY, called him. Simon answered. (He was easier to reach then.) They discussed what’s the way people determine their WHY and how do they communicate it to others. (Simon later revealed that before the TED Talk he would charge friends and acquaintances $100 to help them figure it out.)

That conversation led to Gary, over several years, interviewing more than 1,000 people about the reason they do what they do. He identified nine possible WHYs: Contribute, Trust, Make Sense, Better Way, Right Way, Challenge, Mastery, Clarify, Simplify.

Ultimately, he realized that Simon’s WHY was only the first step. When you add HOW and WHAT – in that specific order – it clarifies the complete picture: your WHY.os – your Operating System. WHY is your driving force, HOW is the way you bring your WHY to life, WHAT is the things others count on from you. 

Wanting to reduce his time commitment for these one-hour conversations, Gary taught himself coding and created an online assessment. (He’s a really smart guy.) Fast-forward to today and he has personally delivered more than 8,000 WHY.os Discovery debriefings. A few years ago, he formed the WHY Institute with a vision to bring WHY.os Discovery to the world. Their mission is ‘to impact one billion people by helping them discover, connect and make decisions.’

A couple months ago, I took the WHY.os Discovery and it tied a lot of things together, including the reason I became a coach 20 years ago and the way I go about life. Within a week Kathy – after reading her own results – and I made the decision WHY.os Discovery would be a valuable tool for our clients. Now I’m certified and look forward to helping them discover how they approach things.

Science Note (As I understand it): Passion and purpose originate in the limbic part of our brain, which involves emotions, feelings and motivations; however, that area doesn’t control language. (Think about when you do something because you relied on your gut. It’s hard to explain your reasoning.) The neocortex is where rational and analytical thought occur. It’s also where language originates. (Think about the last time you purchased something on a whim. Once ‘buyer’s remorse’ set in, it’s likely you did some mental gymnastics to convince yourself it was the right thing.) Your WHY rests in the limbic area. Your HOW and WHAT exist in the neocortex.