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January 9th, 2017

Everyone is ‘meeting ‘ed’ out these days! High on the list of complaints about meetings are that the number people must attend often prevents them from getting their work done and that many are long, boring, non-productive, and dis-engaging. 

Meetings don’t need to be painful events! Yes, there are some types in which a level of formality will always be required at, however, as shown over recent years by a number of high profile companies, people are more engaged and productive when the creative & playful side of their brain is engaged. 

Here are some fun simple tips you can try:

  • Play happy music which contains an upbeat rhythm and positive lyrics in the background
    during team/project meetings or 
    shutterstock_189352979.jpgbrainstorming sessions when the group work and group think is critical.
  • Have small hand held toys available for people to play with as they listen, think, or chat. The concept of play lightens the mood and stimulates the creative centers in our brains. Inexpensive items from local dollar stores such as playdough, soft squeeze gel-critters, pipe cleaners, magic wands, funky toy sun glasses, and crayons are perfect for this. Choose items that are considered acceptable/aligned with your corporate culture, explain the purpose of them to the group, and encourage people to have fun as they work.
  • Use large flip charts to record ideas and encourage people to draw pictures to express their ideas visually if they wish to do so. 
  • Provide a wide range of coloured markers to further stimulate creativity. Using scented markers can add extra fun, but be alert to the possibility of allergies.

People are more easily engaged when they have the freedom to be creative, so provide them with the opportunity to incorporate this playful side of their nature into their work and then stand back and reap the rewards!


November 14th, 2016

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In today’s fast-paced and competitive work environments is more important than ever for you as a woman in a leadership role to have your career goals and the strategies that you will take to attain them clearly mapped as you move towards your desired professional future. Meaningful goals help us grow, move forward and avoid falling into jobs that other well-meaning people have chosen for you because they think you are well-suited for the role. That may be the case, however, wouldn’t the opportunity would be a far richer one if it fit with your personal career goals?

Try mapping your goals using this simplified 4-stage TRI-NAMICS © exercise:

  • Discover your goals.
  • Dream about your goals.
  • Design your goals.
  • Deliver the reality of your goals.

Discover Your Goals:

Explore the possibilities! Use these questions to help you discover the goals you want to focus on:

  • What is important to me?
  • What would I like to have that I do not have?
  • What are my talents and strengths?
  • What burning desire do I have that will truly make a difference?
  • When I am at my optimal, what am I doing, thinking, feeling?

N.B. You might find it helpful to use a mind-mapping tool as you write down your answers to these questions.

Dream About Your Goals:

Once you have some high-level thoughts jotted down it is time to dream a little. Ask yourself:

  • What will it be like to achieve some of my goals?
  • How will I feel?
  • What will be different?
  • What will I be doing differently?

Design Your Goals:

Build your success system by designing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals for yourself using the “SMART” goal tool. Factor in:

  • Milestone dates.
  • Supports/resources you will need along the way.
  • Measures of your success.

Deliver the Reality of Your Goals:

You now have goal clarity! You have explored possibilities, set out a clear path, and now it’s time to take action:

  • Find the right opportunity.
  • Practice with your mentor, partner, or in a team.
  • Follow your roadmap, and
  • Celebrate your success!

Revisit your plan on a regular basis, keep track of what is working, adjusting what doesn’t. and remember to celebrate each success along the way!

If you would like more information from Endless Possibilities about the TRI-NAMICS goal-mapping exercise or coaching support in setting your goals please contact us.

 


April 14th, 2016

Over the past few weeks through conversations with clients, friends, and colleagues I have been struck by the increasing presence of toxic workplaces. Some shared stories of feeling undervalued and unappreciated at work, others described how they have been undermined, or “thrown under the bus” by colleagues desperate to prove their value during corporate restructuring. Still more told of the stress of repeatedly being ‘voluntold’ to produce work which focuses only on quantity to please the CEO when quality is the purpose of their job.shutterstock_224184913.jpg

All of these coaching conversations started out as: ‘how can I possibly do all of this work - I’m being set up to fail”, or, “what is he/she thinking!”, and, “I can’t do quantity giving up quality” to finally, “this is not who I am!”. The level of anxiety, stress, and emotional pain that I heard in their voices was gut-wrenching! The violation of personal values/ethics echoed throughout their stories. 

As I listened to hear and to get to the heart of the matter, it was the comment: “this is not who I am”, that became the springboard for the creation of strategies which helped them re-gain control of the situation through being true to themselves.

So how did they begin to do this?

By asking themselves these key questions and taking the time to reflect deeply on their answers:

  • What values do you hold highest? (Complete our values exercise below.)
  • What principles are important to you?
  •  What part of this situation is preventing you from being true to those values/principles?
  •  What actions do you need to take to center and ground yourself in your values, beliefs, and principles once again?

Once they had accessed the answers to these they were able to create concrete strategies to deal with their workplace situation that felt right and doable for them.

 You have a choice to be who you are…Who do you choose to be? 

Values Exercise

Being_True_to_Self_Exercise_0.pdf



February 29th, 2016

As women continue to fight their way towards that leadership seat in the corner office,
the struggle with unrealistic expectations of themselves and those of others continues. The feeling that we need to be able to do it all, or be Superwoman can be, at times, overwhelming and disheartening. How often do you find yourself doing the following:

  • Working excessively long hours.
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  • Multi tasking.
  • Not asking questions or raising concerns for fear of sounding stupid.
  • Thinking you need to lead the same way or be the same as others.
  • Putting work ahead of your personal life.

Take heart, this is not the case! In fact, many successful female leaders have begun to reveal that they are staying true to feminine traits and utilizing a uniquely female leadership style. They are:

  •  Leading from the heart, being their authentic self.
  • — Using their intuition and their inner wisdom.
  • — Leveraging their emotional intelligence. Women tend to score higher on the scales of self awareness, self regulation, empathy, and social skills than men in the business world.
  • — They are more relationship focused, often bringing an edge of humanity to their workplace.

It’s time to take off the Superwoman Cape and ask yourself what success looks like for you!

 A good starting point is to stay true to yourself. Try the following steps:

  •  Ground yourself in knowing who you are. Take the time to identify/affirm your personal values.
  • — Look at how your values align with those of your workplace and the people that surround you.  Do they match or is there a rub?
  • —  Explore your emotional intelligence – discover your strengths and then leverage these skills to support your success!
  • —  Decide: What will you stand for?
  • —  Just importantly: What won’t you stand for?
  • —  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need – seek out a mentor or mentors.
  • —  Take action now! Work with an Executive Coach who specializes in women’s leadership issues.


January 28th, 2016

startup_2016.jpg 

The new year can be an excellent blank slate, offering everyone a fresh start. If you are drawn to the idea of setting goals at the start of a new year, here are five goals you can consider to give yourself the best advantages in business and in your personal life!

 

Increase Your Skills

Whether it is a hobby you want to improve upon, or a business skill like communication or leadership, there is always room to learn more and work harder! Choose a skill or two and set a goal to improve in these areas. Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, and realistice with timelines attached to make it easy to keep track of your progress.

 

Use Emotional Intelligence to Move Up

Emotional intelligence is vital in moving up in the business world. Work on developing your emotional intelligence skills and put them into practice to gain traction in your career this year!

 

Create Sustainable Change

Looking to change something at home, or at work? Dedicate yourself to making it a sustainable switch. This is not the time for quick fixes – sustainable change involves a concerted effort, a plan, and regular check-ins to ensure that the change you are making will last.

 

Improve Self Confidence

Self-confidence is a game changer in all spheres of one's life. If you are more confident you will succeed everywhere you try, or be able to better handle small failures. Improve your self-confidence through self-care, coaching, reading books, or through other activities that you know will make you feel good.

 

Become More Effective

Make it a goal to not waste time this year. Be productive and effective at home and at work, and your days will be that much more meaningful. At Endless Possibilities we can work with you on achieving these goals through support and coaching. Call us today to speak with an Executive Coach!


January 19th, 2016

Dealing with toxicity in the workplace, as a leader, and more specifically as a woman in a leadership role, is a tremendous challenge! This blog explores two types of leadership authority first and then proposes some strategies to help you begin to deal with a toxic workplace.

Two Categories of Leadership Authority: Formal and Informal.shutterstock_193984787_(Team_tree).jpg

Formal leaders are those who hold titles and are recognized through positional authority within the hierarchy. These leaders are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization and they also play a formal and informal role in creating the culture of the organization as well. These leaders act with formal authority.

However, women are largely unrepresented at the heads of companies. Recent data shows that women make up only 4.4% of CEO positions at S&P 500 Companies.

Informal leaders are individuals that do not hold titles or positional authority within a company or organization, but they have considerable influence nonetheless. The influence of informal leaders can be felt as a result of the strong relationships that they have built throughout their workplace, with peers, superiors, and subordinates. The trust, respect, and rapport that they have with their colleagues may often be greater and more influential than that of those in formal leadership roles. These leaders act with informal authority.

Women often hold a tremendous amount of informal leadership power, although they do not always recognize it nor choose to exercise it to address challenges in the workplace.

While male and female leaders may share similar skills and knowledge, in dealing with the root causes of toxicity in the workplace it is often the expertise in relationship skills that women hold which can tip the balance in these situations. Their innate ability to listen to hear, to hone in on the heart of the issue, and to show empathy is often a key factor in discovering, exploring, and shifting the underlying causes of the toxicity.

If you find yourself in the midst of an unhealthy work environment and are wondering where to start, try the following:

Leveraging your innate leadership strengths to effect change in a toxic environment:  

  • Identify the toxic behaviors that are occurring. Utilize your relationship skills of listening to  hear and asking curious questions to notice and explore common themes and emerging patterns when developing a plan to address the toxicity. 
  • Recognize and leverage your scope of influence within your current role to affect positive change to the situation.
  • Consult with your immediate superior as to next steps in addressing the issue. If they might be the source of the toxic behaviours, seek the confidential counsel of an HR advisor in your organization.
  • Consider working with an Executive Coach as an additional source of support for yourself.

As a female leader in a toxic workplace, you have capacity within yourself to explore solutions and to get your workplace onto a healthy track!


January 12th, 2016

"You need to network more, market your skills and yourself.”Do those very words strike terror into your heart; leave you with a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach?

Not an uncommon reaction for women! While many men appear to be comfortably successful networkers, we as women often struggle to find the balance of communicating our skills, strengths, and talents in a way that feels authentic for us. Our worries about coming across as self-serving, conceited, or bragging can hold us back from participating in an activity that is crucial to career advancement. But take heart, it is not an impossible task!

 Break it down into simple steps:

1. Define your network:

Think out of the box! As you do so, be creative, look not only at your contacts, but their contacts as well. Consider your professional alliances, affiliations, associations, peers, and colleagues.

2. Take the time to map your leadership network. Use a mind-mapping tool and have some fun with it! Slide1.jpg

3. Talk to connections & colleagues let them know what you are doing and ask for their support.

Get prepared! Some basic requirements for leadership networking are:

1. Be your authentic self. Create a simple one-to-two line introductory statement that feels natural to you and then practice it until you can speak it easily.

2. Have some resources that you can share with people. These can be as simple as information or access to some of your contacts.

3. Thoughtful, purposeful, and authentic use of your power. For networking purposes, power consists of your leadership reputation, the organizational position that you hold, and your network connections.

4. Communication skills: the ability to listen is paramount! Listening to hear, absorb, and draw out information from others. Know when to listen and when to speak.

5.  Cut yourself some slack – don’t panic if you don’t get your introductory statement perfect at first. Remember you are the only one that knows what it’s supposed to be.

 Relax, observe, and create some opportunities to share your wonderful wisdom with others.

 


December 28th, 2015

The holiday season can be a stressful time even for the most joyous people. With the additional pressures of holiday celebrations, family dynamics, and possibly even money concerns as people scramble to find the best gift for everyone they know, it is little wonder that tensions can run high. Add the challenge of trying to stave off stress during a time when everyone is spreading messages of holiday cheer, and you may find that your employees are feeling a bit burned out.

As an employer, there are things you can do to empower your staff and show your appreciation during this time. Even if they are not feeling bogged down, they may be looking to you to say or do something to acknowledge them during this season, when people traditionally share good wishes and happiness.

Be sure to check in with your employees, and listen to their needs. Some may require time off for family functions, while others might be concerned about how to balance work and life during the holidays. Do what you can to assuage any worries while keeping things fair when it comes to issues like vacation requests.

Regular encouragement can go a long way. Take this time to spread the holiday spirit by telling your staff how much they mean to you. If you can specifically outline a way in which they have really shone over the past year, they will know that you really mean it.

Many businesses hand out bonuses or gifts during the holiday, and of course this is something employees love, but be sure to add some verbal encouragement too, during the holidays and all year round. Happy employees are productive, loyal, and dedicated, something every boss desires. Empower your employees and watch your company thrive!


November 24th, 2015

Did you know that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has put together the most diverse cabinet in the history of the country? The most startling thing about it is that there are an equal number of men and women who will be shaping Canada's future. This announcement has caused a flurry of media attention. Why? Because it represents a tremendous shift of power in the top echelons of government – a shift away from a predominately male-dominated space.

Canada is not the first country to take on the challenges of increasing the number of women in prominent positions. Did you know that Norway has implemented a policy of gender balance in both public and private sector leadership? In 1986, the first female prime minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Bruntdland, appointed 40% women to her government. Furthermore, Norwegian women, by law, make up 40% of corporate board rooms in the private sector and in government-run enterprises.

What does it take to move into such prominent positions in government, or even where you are employed?

That's where executive coaching can change your life. When you look around, you now see women who are shaping many of the nation's leading industries. Women are now found in healthcare, finance, IT industries, education, and government. They are making a real difference to how the world will look today and in the future.

When you decide to choose your path to personal fulfillment, there are many coaching areas for you to choose from. There are different ways to help you gain a foothold to the top; with executive coaching you will learn:

  • Leadership skill development
  • Creating and learning how to bring about organizational change
  • How to address toxic and unhealthy workplaces
  • How to develop optimal emotional intelligence skills
  • Enable staff to thrive in today's workplaces

Great leaders inspire us with their passion. It's a learned skill, one which you can add to every day. People who make a difference, are in touch with their values, their emotions, and their beliefs, and know how to bring these to the marketplace.

Be someone who stands out. Develop your cutting edge skills so nothing will hold you back.


November 24th, 2015

Unfortunately, toxic workplaces are commonplace in today's day and age. Toxic workplaces are generally characterized by a culture of dysfunctional interpersonal dynamics. These dynamics can play out in a number of ways: inequity, unaddressed conflict, harassment, or even just general lack of communication. Generally, organizational or corporate culture is driven from the top-down, and if the leadership imposes toxic tactics, it can be very difficult for those not in charge to shift the culture. Luckily there are communications tools and techniques to deal with and even change the toxic culture of a workplace.

Women react to difficult situations differently than men do. Particularly in the workplace, many women are more sensitive to hostile or stressful interpersonal situations than are men. Let's look at three characteristics that women commonly display which can make dealing with the toxic workplace much more difficult:

  1. Women tend to be people-pleasers. Women like to be liked, appreciated, encouraged, and more often than not function in a collaborative work environment. In a toxic workplace, workers can be pitted against one another in order to get the results that managers are after. Where this managerial approach can be effective in the short-term, it tends to go against the grain of how most women want to operate in their professional capacity.
  2. Women can be more emotionally affected. In a toxic workplace environment, there is often a lot of back-talk, which can lead to hurt feelings and emotional distress. Emotional distress has the potential to impact productivity, relationships, and negative affect morale in the workplace. More often than not, this emotional distress bleeds into our personal lives, affecting our family relationships as well. Being able to leave toxicity at the workplace at the end of the day, is difficult but essential for emotional well-being.
  3. Women take things personally. Being able to separate attacks to one's work and to one’s person can be difficult. We know we should not take things personally however, in toxic workplaces, even constructive criticism can be construed as an attack, because of the overall toxic culture. Stepping back and realizing that attacks stem from insecurities coming from the attacker can be difficult to do when it is directed towards you. Recognizing that there are larger dynamics at play is a first step to not taking things personally.