Good Management Habits

Habits for High Productivity Days

The first thing you need to know about having a high productivity day tomorrow is that it starts with the last thing you do today.

Habit 1: End your day with a plan for the next day.

One of the biggest pits I see busy managers and leaders fall into is that they work to exhaustion and leave the office without setting a plan for what they need to get done the next day.

Starting the day with a plan for what you have to achieve is key to having a highly productive day. That plan can and should be crafted in advance so you can: Continue reading…

Managers: Stop being so busy

Expectations weigh on all of us. But there are expectations, and expectations.

Managers are busy people, but if you’re non-stop busying yourself with meetings, emails and day to day operations you aren’t really doing what you were hired to do.

You weren’t hired to make the inevitable happen. Continue reading…

Counting Strokes

In golf, winners dole out fewer strokes than their competitors. In management, the opposite is true.

A “stroke” is a unit of human contact and recognition: a pat on the back, applause, a congratulatory note, a hug, an award, or praise. Continue reading…

It’s time to tell your story

In every human culture, stories are used to pass down knowledge, history and wisdom. They are used to entertain, inspire and motivate. And they are used to connect people through recognizably similar experiences.

So why don’t more leaders share personal stories?

  1. Sharing personal stories will make me vulnerable (like that’s a bad thing).
  2. People only need facts and data to do their jobs, I don’t have time to tell people stories.
  3. People aren’t going be interested in my stories.

If you are holding back from sharing stories for any of those reasons, here’s why you need to get over them. Continue reading…

Don’t let the good ones get away

Last month, a colleague came to me with a sad, but all too common story.

A senior member of his team was under-performing and putting a wrench in the works for everyone. My friend was so focused on dealing with the fallout and figuring out how to handle the senior player that he dropped the ball on checking-in with the rest of his team.

Then whamo! During a real week from hell, one of his solid performers – a woman who did a GOOD job and operated quietly under the radar – up and quit, leaving a serious gap in his team. Not surprising. Continue reading…

BCB Commuinicator: Inspiring Action with Emotion

Chris Obst’ article Inspiring Action with Emotion, published by BCB Communicator magazine is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how effective management comes from both the head and the heart.

BCB Communicator: Managing in Tough Times

Chris Obst’s article Managing in Tough Times, published by BCB Communicator magazine is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how relationships, creative connections and dialogue stimulate opportunities.

Enterprise: The Dreaded Performance Review

Chris Obst is interviewed for the Enterprise magazine article The Dreaded Performance Review. It is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how both the employer and employee should approach performance reviews.

You can make opportunities to take a break

My summer is off to a great start. I’m up at 6AM watching the World Cup before I start work and I go out with a buddy for lunch to grab a mid day game. Go Germany! I admit to getting swept up in the action.

And last weekend I competed in the infamous Test of Metal mountain bike race with 999 other racers. It is a 67-kilometer cross-country mountain bike race with over 1,200 meters of climbing. The pros complete it in 2.5 – 3 hours. Mortals like me take 4 – 6 or more.

I’ve never trained for anything so hard in my life.

I want to share something l learned from all this about rest and recovery. Continue reading…

Get ready for a whole different kind of tired

You and I are knowledge workers. We use our mental and emotional energy to do the heavy lifting at work.

Leading one-on-one meetings, delivering presentations, analyzing, writing, motivating, coaching – as much as these tasks can feed us, and give us a buzz, they can also drain our mental and emotional energy. Continue reading…

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The title for this article is also the new tag line for my company. It came out of an “ah ha” moment that a lot of managers have.

In management, you are always moving, stretching, balancing and rebalancing – it is pretty rare that anyone feels totally comfortable because nothing stays still for very long.

3 reasons you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

  1. Change is constant. And change makes everyone of us more or less uncomfortable.I’m coaching a new VP who confided in me, “This is a really hard job! I feel like I never have things under control.” In her pre-management role, she was able to get things set up and let them operate on cruise control. That just doesn’t happen in management. Continue reading…

How excellent are you?

Leadership excellence is about being able to inspire and grow your highest leverage assets: trust, respect and loyalty.

In good times and bad, everything flows from those three levers.

When you think about great leaders you have known, or admired, my guess is that you would give them all high scores in what I call the 4 C’s. Continue reading…

Fundamentals of Energy Management

  1. Values: know what matters most, and ask yourself if you have the energy to live the way you want to live.
  2. Nutrition: eat healthy meals and snacks to support your day, and know when treats help and when they hurt.
  3. Continue reading…

V is for victory and vulnerability

How does an athlete like Maelle Ricker go from coming in 4rth in Turin in 2006, Ricker to grabbing the gold in women’s snowboard cross in 2010?

She didn’t achieve her ultimate career high by pretending she was perfect.

Any athlete, or leader, who wants to push themselves to the next level has to be willing to be honest about their weaknesses.

3 mind blowing facts about weakness in leaders: Continue reading…

Give your people what they want: one-on-one’s

Give your people what they want.

Following on from my last article about one-on-ones, there is a really easy way for you to give your people what they want this holiday, and throughout the year. Ask them.

Now is a great time to connect with your team and talk to them about their futures and where they see themselves headed.

People want to be empowered to good work, and they want to be seen and respected for who they are and the talents they offer. We aren’t that mysterious. Continue reading…

Brand yourself as a great leader

When I coach, I have a number tools that I use to assess clients. I use different tools for different reasons. But I’m excited about a new Personal Brand Assessment that I’m using to help people:

1) see what impression you leave with people

2) look at what you are doing in your career to consciously cultivate your brand or unconsciously sabotage it Continue reading…

The biggest mistake managers make

The biggest mistake I see managers make is that they repeatedly bail on one-on-ones with direct reports. They set up the meetings, then a big clients comes in from out of town, or someone from head office calls, or the project is behind schedule and… I’ve heard all the excuses. They don’t fly.

It’s a mistake to ditch one-on-ones because:

1. When you bail on one-on-ones you send a message.You inadvertently tell people that they are unimportant, unseen, and unappreciated. 

Don’t think it’s all that bad? Think about how you feel when your boss sets up a meeting with you to talk about your progress and then pushes it because something else came up. That feeling right there is the same feeling that your team members feel every time you bail on them. 

And if you repeat the mistakes of your managers, your employees will repeat them too. Now we are talking about more than one disappointed employee, we are talking about a corporate culture that disrespects employees and stifles potential. It’s serious. Continue reading…

The week after New Years!

We’re a week into 2008 so relax, I won’t mention the R-word.

Last month, I encouraged you to review your accomplishments. Building on that, do you now need to make any changes? (Come on, you knew it was coming.) Continue reading…

Year end review

December? Are you kidding me?

If you’ve been reading the blog for over a year, you know that in December I advocate looking back. If you weren’t with us last year, you might benefit from the self-coaching year-end questions I sent out. They provide a great basis for review.

Take 30 minutes to look back and appreciate all the good things that happened. Your year-end review is also a great opportunity to revisit the challenges you faced and ask yourself if the lessons learned have been effectively integrated into your behaviours. Continue reading…

Get perspective and get control

People keep asking me how this economic mayhem is impacting me. Do you want to know what I’m doing to steer through?

I coach myself and I coach others to focus on things we can control – our own mindset and our own performance, which by the way can be more reliable than our GIC and stock performance any day of the week. Continue reading…