Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The World Has Forever Changed

One thing that is clear from the world we live in is that the world has forever changed. There are businesses who had their worst year in 2020 and there are others who had their best year. Besides industry, let’s look at what leadership traits helped those leaders have their most successful year in business. 

Businesses that thrived during the pandemic are those that have been led by leaders who prioritized their people. 

They used traits like flexibility, vulnerability, empathy and openness to lead their teams. These have always been vital leadership characteristics but 2020 required a more attentive focus to these attributes. 

Many leaders had never led a remote team before this. They had to keep abreast of the context in which their people were working, and pay close attention to their energy, efforts (and extra effort) and capacity to do a job well done. 

As we move through business during a pandemic, it is vital to know that most people just want to connect, be seen, understand and be appreciated for work that is done behind a monitor. This is especially true when all communication is done digitally. People crave connection. 

According to Simon Sinek, “The leaders who get the most out of their people are the leaders who care most about their people.” 

We won’t be in a pandemic forever. In fact, some states and parts of the world are more open to people gathering than others. The lessons of leadership during a pandemic are clear. Recognize the effort as well as outcomes so that you can build a high performing, highly engaged team. Take the time to show your team you care about them as much as you care about the outcomes they are producing for you and the business. 

This may require you to use new skill sets like curiosity, collaboration, shared learning and the use of ever-so-valuable technology. 

ADP Research Institute did a global study of engagement in 2018 that reported that people who trust their leader will be 12 times more engaged. Trust as a leader is built when you show you genuinely care about the person working with and for you. 

Go make it happen and show your people that you care!



Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Constant and Never Ending Growth


When I think of the leaders I work with they all have one thing in common, they all seek constant and never ending growth. This may look different for each leader depending on their current dreams and goals. 

One thing I have learned over the years is that when you are specific about what you want and you have a made up mind, you will certainly be able to move closer to achieving it.

I have also observed another interesting thing, people often are not specific, clear and haven’t set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals. I know because I have done it. We get excited and we either rush into action or we simply try to take on too much. 

There are seven main areas that people set goals in. They are: 

  1. Physical body

  2. Relationship with self

  3. Relationship with others

  4. Schedule

  5. Work, career or mission

  6. Finances

  7. Contribution

I’ll write more about each of these areas but since the physical body is almost always first on people’s lists, here are some facts from the Center of Disease Control you will want to know. 

Obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease

  • The prevalence of obesity was 42.4% in 2017~2018. 

  • From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.

  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death. 

  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

When setting goals for any of these areas you want to make sure you can measure them over a period of time to see if what you are doing is taking you closer to your goal. Say you want to exercise and you leave it at that, most likely that might not get you motivated to get you even dressed to work out. However, if you say I am going to work out 4 times a week at 9 am for the next 90 days. With this one you can measure and assess if this is helping get you to your goal of making working out a routine. 

This can be done in every area of your life. Set a goal/ intention, a timeline and have a measurement system. Pick one area and set one SMART goal. Master that and then you can look at another area to add on. 



Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Gravitas - What Is It?

I just ran into someone the other day that hadn’t ever heard the word gravitas. 

So I wanted to take a moment to ask you if you have heard of it and if you know what it is? 

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Gravitas

Wikipedia says “Gravitas was one of the ancient Roman virtues that denoted "seriousness". It is also translated variously as weight, dignity, and importance and connotes restraint and moral rigor. It also conveys a sense of responsibility and commitment to the task.”

First, let’s think about the positive outcome of having gravitas. After all, if you are going to work on it, it’s worth thinking about why having gravitas is beneficial. Let’s look at it without using the word gravitas and rather the benefits of it.

Which of these positives would benefit you?

  1. Increasing your personal confidence – something we all need in our professional lives.

  2. You’ll get people’s attention quicker and keep it.

  3. You’re more likely to get the answer you want from your audience, whether that be a group or an individual.

  4. You’ll feel happier in your work life as you spend time working on what you do and why (what you enjoy about it).

  5. You’ll be more memorable and be the ‘go to’ person when someone needs an expert in your field.

We now know why you would want more gravitas but how do you get it? 

  1. Listen and respond to others. When talking, if something comes up you are unsure about, be honest. 

  2. Use your choice of words and tonality to win the attention of others.

  3. Use body language to alternate between authority and approachability. 

  4. Remember to pause. Not everything requires an immediate response and thinking about something before you speak is good.

  5. Be willing to ask questions of others and listen intently to what they have to say. 

Start watching the gravitas of others and you’ll begin to see it in yourself as well.



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Professional Presence in 2021

What does having a professional presence look like in a world full of zoom calls, masks and working at home? 

Let’s start with presence. Presence is letting the most powerful version of yourself shine through. I like to cite the renowned leadership expert Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who defines “presence” as a combination of gravitas, communication, and appearance. Together, these elements form an impression of trustworthiness, competence, and authenticity.

Now let’s look at professionalism. Many people tie this to how one dresses. But it is more than that. It is confidence, communication and how you dress. 

Confidence. If you want to learn how to be more confident, you must be willing to change your state. Your state is essentially your mood at any given time of day. Your mood is influenced by how you feel about yourself at that point in time. The great news is you are in full control of your choice. Confidence is a matter of choice. You can let go of the stories you hold at any moment and create a new experience within yourself that will directly affect your state of mind and thus, your confidence.

Communicate. To communicate effectively, it’s important to regulate your reactions, recognize emotions in others, and manage your responses. Let other people speak first. Ask questions and make them feel understood. Remember to smile, make eye contact, and lean forward. By staying in the moment and maintaining focus on the conversation, you can ask the right questions and lay the foundation for trust and openness to your influence. 

Dress your part. There should be a strong connection between who you are, who you want to be, and how you look. If you want to be successful in the financial sector, for instance, you need to look like someone who understands and can be trusted with money. Identify the people who are successful where you work, and study how they put themselves together. Focusing on your appearance can also go a long way toward boosting your internal confidence.