Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Consensus is the lowest bar

Consensus and collaboration are two words often used interchangeably. However, they are two separate approaches to planning.

Often, folks who defer mainly to consensus are afraid to be a bit controversial or are not sure if they own the final decision. And it's much easier to feel the love if you can get everyone to agree.

But consensus can mean we don't take as many risks. It can set a lower bar.

Collaborate always. Everyone who has a stake in the outcome should feed into a decision. However, the party responsible should take the ultimate ownership of the final direction/decision.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Questions to ponder

In interviews, on panels and at cocktail receptions, weird and wonderful questions get posed. How would you answer some of these?

In your role, what techniques do you use to deal with change?

What advice can you give to others to break through the glass ceiling?

What do you find helps you to deal with work/life balance?

How important is a personal brand?  How do you develop yours?

Did you ever have to step down i.e. take a position of a lower level in order to step up?

What's the best interview question to ask as an interviewer and as an interviewee?

What's the biggest motivator for you today: money, recognition or challenge?

Is it important that leaders are subject matter experts in their fields? Why?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mental holidays

Mental holidays are probably the most overlooked resource in the toolkit. Whether you take five minutes or 2 months (grin), it offers time to gain perspective, information, and rest. It's a great coaching and mentoring technique that should be discussed more often. 

Mentally stopping… to think about nothing, think about a problem, walk, sing, meditate… gives us the ability to see things from a fresh perspective. There is a lot of research that points to the need to let our unconscious mind sift through the great library we mentally store and let ideas surface. If you've ever forgotten a name or an idea and said "Just give me a second; it'll come to me!" then you know how this process can't always be forced through willpower and concerted effort.

Peter Bregman wrote a great post on HBR "The Best Way to Use the Last Five Minutes of Your Day" a few years ago. Though taking five minutes at any time can sometimes be more productive than continuing to run at the pace we seem to follow during the days.

A mental holiday can also mean deferring a decision or discussion to allow emotions to settle. It can mean allowing ours team to take on extra ownership without having us peer over their shoulders.

Most importantly, it should mean we return to the process /problem /idea with a relaxed and open state of mind… however you personally best achieve that.

It's been a long summer for many of us. My mental holiday was trusting my team to keep the plates spinning while I was dragged into other arenas. And I spent an hour each week simply sitting on my porch and letting my mind wander while I listened to the squirrels in the trees. I am not sure if I have more ideas or fresher thoughts but I am prepared to start trying with a bigger smile and some excellent research in my pocket.

Please share your ideas of a great mental holiday?