Career Booster #1: Know Exactly What You Want

Want to know what you should do to climb that corporate ladder and get ahead in life? the Cheshire cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland said it best. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Most people who share your morning commute want to advance up the food chain to get more money, more say in the type of work they do and how they do it, more support from subordinates, peers and managers … and more vacation time. Do you want to be promoted?WAIT! Before you say “Of course!” think very carefully.105940097

Will this promotion bring you the list of things you really want?

Have you ever accepted a role within a company only to discover it’s costing you far more personally than you ever expected?

Hours on the job, stress, responsibility without control over some key factors of success – every promotion or career change has a few hidden surprises. Just like marriage, you need to go in with eyes WIDE open, rather than fairytale hopes of “happily ever after”.

A promotion may seem like a reward or recognition for your work. In reality, your promotion is a strategic company decision. The company expects a return for their investment. Are you prepared to deliver that return?

Want to advance in your company? Have your sights set on a position? Start paying careful attention. What are the specific challenges of the person who performs that role right now? How does he/she overcome those challenges? What sacrifices does he/she have to make? If you had to make those sacrifices, how would you feel about your work? your career? yourself?

Your company offers you that promotion? Ask about the expectations they have of you in that role. That’s not a list of duties or responsibilities. Dig deeper. What actual outcomes does your company expect in 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? 2? 5? Are they willing to provide the time, talents and resources you will need? Will they give you control over how you achieve those outcomes? When you need to rearrange the talents and resources to meet expectations, will the company back you up?

Before you wish for, ask for or accept a promotion, know “… where you want to get to.” Not all promotions lead to “up”. Be just as strategic about accepting any promotion as your company is about offering it. Know exactly what you want out of your career, your time and your life. Know exactly what you are prepared to give and where you will need to draw the line.

Carol Carter trains teams and leaders to wage war on MEDIOCRITY, boost credibility with each other, themselves, their company and the clients they serve and make the workplace actually … work. For more info, visit¬†http://getthrival.com/about-us

 

 

 

 

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Get Your ORS – 3 Must Haves to do Your Best Work

We just had the dreaded “Spring Forward” time change. How was your day?

76800996Every year I promise myself I will go to bed early. In fact, I promise I’ll get up early the entire week before. “Think of all the extra time I’ll have!!!” Every year it’s the same. Life happens. I don’t get up early. That Sunday night before the first time changed work day, I go to bed, stare at the ceiling and think “I need to sleep. I’m losing an hour. Tomorrow is going to suck.” … and it does.

  • My work suffers.
  • My credibility suffers.
  • Everyone around me suffers.

How can I fly all day to the east coast of Mexico, lose two hours, wake up with the rising sun the next morning and go, go, go all day long? I am not tired until 11PM. I’m up again with the sun the next day ready to go, go, go! Yet lose an hour in March …

Okay, it’s Mexico, not work! But is it because I’m not at work? Or is it because I breathe deeper, get exercise and really relax so I can actually … sleep?

Here’s a reality check. My friend has stage 4 cancer. She usually eats healthy food, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do all those behaviours that might lead someone to get cancer. We had a heart-to-heart talk about work.

For years, she worked one-and-a-half high stress jobs, raised a son on her own, nursed her dad back to health when he suffered from cancer … and she couldn’t sleep. In fact, she didn’t exercise much because there was never time. Her body was starving. She needed:

  • to breathe deeply and get Oxygen into the bottom of her lungs
  • to Relax
  • to Sleep

Think about it. If you had no oxygen, how quickly would you die?

We starve our bodies and brains with limited oxygen levels, keep ourselves loaded up on adrenaline and cortisol by never taking the time to truly, deeply relax, making us unable to sleep, which our entire system needs to heal and defragment. That’s a recipe for a world of hurt. Before you say “It goes with the territory for my job.” ask yourself honestly if you are most productive in this state of existence?

Are you doing your best work?

For the sake of preserving your career, your reputation and through your work, the reputation of your company, you might want to change your plan.

These three necessities in life – Oxygen (fresh air and exercise), Relaxation and Sleep – will save your reputation, your career and your sanity. Without them, the best education, tools and even diet in the world cannot preserve you for long. Eventually:

  • your work will suffer
  • your credibility will suffer
  • everyone around you will suffer

What to do RIGHT NOW if you think you are ORS deprived:

  1. Look at the rest of your schedule for the day. Build in any kind of exercise – walk outdoors, ride a bike, weed a patch of garden – anything that will get oxygen into the deepest parts of your lungs today.
  2. Schedule a time when you will shut off all electronic devices, forget about work and call it a day. This should be at least an hour before you plan (yes PLAN) to go to bed. Use that time to do something that will relax you (I’ll let you be creative with this. I don’t want to know. Truly.)
  3. Go to bed (don’t relax on the couch) when you planned and have a nice, non heart-thumping, book at your side. Better yet, just concentrate on your breathing until you fall asleep. Let tomorrow happen tomorrow. Give your body a chance to recover from today.

I would love to know how this works for you! Send me your feedback and how getting your ORS starts to improve your performance, your credibility and your relationships at work and at home. I will post the better ones. (Need to weed out the spam. Sorry.)

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Carol Carter’s Coffee Corner

Struggling to write a great speech? Deliver a presentation? Deal with a difficult co-worker? Confront an employee? Lead others through a challenging change? Make your workplace a place you and your team want to work in?

Come to Carol Carter’s Coffee Corner, bring me your gut wrenching, puzzling, or nagging questions and I will send you a personal tip. If the answer to your particular challenge is helpful to many people, I might even make a video (don’t worry, I’ll keep you anonymous) and share that helpful advice.

Click HERE to send me a question.

Click HERE to see the latest tips from Carol Carter’s Coffee Corner.

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How To Survive the Office Christmas Party

“Family that plays together stays together” ~original author unknown

Ah, the annual office Christmas party – the party we all grumble about if we don’t get, but we all fear and dread when we do.

  • Who’s coming?
  • What do I wear?
  • Who do I need to talk to?
  • Who should I avoid?
  • Will there be alcohol?
  • Should I have any alcohol?
  • Will there be dancing?
  • Should I dance? (remember Elaine from Seinfeld?)

The fact is, the annual Christmas (or “holiday” for the politically careful) party is supposed to be a time to breathe, relax, celebrate accomplishments and appreciate each other. It is a gift from the keeper of the company purse to say “Thank you!”

Maybe it’s a sign of the times. We don’t party enough. Partying is a forgotten skill. It’s either a drunken, rumour-starting, career-ending disaster or a stuffy, political poser-fest you can’t wait to exit. Why can’t we just relax and enjoy each others’ company without getting all weird?

We are human.

In a family, there is unconditional love. You may not LIKE your family, but generally you know you’ll be connected to the bitter end. Your family knows where you came from and will always have a deeper connection because of the good and the bad times, wins and losses, deepest embarrassment and greatest glory you have witnessed and shared together.

Your work family is a little different.

Joe was nice to you when you started in the company, but soon decided you were competition. Joe steps on you to build himself up and keep you down. When one of you leaves the company you will never have to speak to Joe again, and that day could not come too soon.

Suzy saw you do something wrong and soon the entire company knew … including your boss… which has been career limiting. You’re a nice person, but you still have dreams of Suzy’s lunch crawling with maggots or her hair catching fire. Peace and good will toward men? … Peace and good will toward everyone but Suzy.

The truth is, some people don’t care about you. You are not important to them. You share workspace and are either useful or in their way. One of the biggest human needs we have is to be cared for. At our most basic instinctive level, someone who doesn’t care is a threat!

What if …

  • the office party is a way to connect with people on a non-work level and grow a little know-like-trust factor between you?
  • you CAN be yourself if you authentically connect and care about the conversations you have and the people you speak with?
  • you find common ground with people you never considered?

Every office party is a chance to make your workplace a better place to work. It starts with this mindset:

“It’s never about you.” ~ authentic Carol Carterism #15

  • Someone has treated you badly in the past? It’s never about you.
  • Someone refuses to talk to you at the party? It’s never about you.
  • Someone decides to talk to you and truly connects? … again, it’s never about you.

People act on what is in their own hearts. You can’t control their actions, but you can control yours. Make sure you care about others. Don’t wait for them to care about you first. Authentically, transparently connect. If you become “others focused” and quit worrying so much about you, you’ll find that office parties are great events to look forward to.

The truth is, leaders know how to connect with people and empower them to be their best selves. If you are doing this with others, it will be noticed and admired. If others are NOT doing this to you, it reflects more on them than you.

How do you survive the office Christmas Party?

  • Don’t worry so much! Relax, laugh, have fun and be authentic! DO be your BEST authentic self.
  • Get over yourself. It’s never about you.
  • Focus on others and, no matter who they are or what their position is, truly care and connect.

Don’t be a stuffy poser, don’t mask your nervousness with liquid courage and … DO get someone you trust to be honest with you about your dance moves before you show them off.

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“Soft Skills??? This is a Business, Not a Daycare!”

Somewhere over the last century we lost the meaning of leadership.

It was buried under the hierarchy of the industrial revolution, twisted by a few wars, contorted by Hollywood, and made a joke by government. Somehow “soft skills” and “leadership” became two separate discussions, one for HR and one for the board room with the big boys and the real business.

Then hierarchies stopped working …

The truth is, they had been silently eroding for decades. Everyone was so busy hiding in corners, trying to maintain cushy benefits packages of days-gone-by in hopes of an early retirement that no one stood up and said what was really happening.

Management took over Leadership.

Management is about maintaining the status quo, keeping everyone and everything under control, achieving logical goals and punishing disobedience … innovation … change of any kind that threatens homeostasis.

The very nature of Leadership requires Soft Skills. People will “buy in” to someone’s leadership and follow someone they know, like and trust. “If no one’s following you, you aren’t leading. You’re just taking a walk.”~Garth McFadden.

There’s a big difference between leading people and babying them though. Leadership skills are hard to learn and use consistently. Great leaders are harder and harder to find because we have so many poor examples in leadership, it’s hard to find someone to model ourselves after.

So … how do we fix this?

Great leaders are not extinct. They do exist. They have powerful command of many soft skills and would be the first to admit there’s many they could improve. Just by admitting this, great leaders display one of many of the Transforming Leadership Skills – Constant Self Improvement (or life long learning).

If you have a team of great leaders who want to be even better, or if you would like to give a boost to a team of leaders at different levels, call the number above or email Carol at GetThrival!  and find out about three different ways your team can experience Transforming Leadership.

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Using Video to Build Credibility With Your Clients AND Your Team

As information increases faster and faster and attention spans and patience grow smaller and smaller, video is replacing traditional ways of communicating.

If a picture is worth 1 thousand words, then a video is worth 1 million. Those watching your video gain more information from your tone, emphasis on certain words, facial expressions, gestures and pauses than they can from reading a wall of carefully edited words on a page. Already many companies have employee orientation and staff education videos. We’ve seen video conferencing increase. Skype calls can include video. The latest iphones have “face time” capabilities.

Studies show that visual communications are twice as effective as verbal communications for learning and understanding. Think about the last instructions you gave employees over the phone … as employees become increasingly mobile or telecommute more often, video may solve some of the issues of making communication efficient. Video has already proven itself to shorten timelines on projects, saving budgeted costs, wowing clients and generating greater future opportunity.

It won’t be long before video will be a standard means of communication to clients, prospects and staff.

What does this mean for the camera-shy executive?
It means those with solid on-camera communication skills will gain a huge competitive edge over those without.

In other words, this is a shyness you NEED to eliminate.

This latest “addition” to executive leadership skills isn’t one to fear. It provides an opportunity to be embraced. With video you can:

  • ensure all staff receive the same information in the way you intended it.
  • create more of the know, like and trust factor you need to effectively lead others.
  • refer back to previous messages and ensure congruency without sifting through your own “wall of words”.

The key elements that separate “weak” on-camera skills from “solid” ones are:

  • clarity,
  • comfort level, and
  • credibility created by authenticity

Need help with your communication skills both on and off camera? Carol will help you to be credible, comfortable and absolutely clear about your on-camera communications … as well as your off-camera ones.

Click HERE for details

Or email Carol Carter for more information about bringing this training to your team.

 

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Crying and Other Craziness in the Workplace

If work is just business, why do people cry over it?

The answer is – we are human, not machines. Threats (real or perceived) to our security cause all KINDS of nasty and embarrassing reactions.

Once upon a time, when we did not spend entire days working on a square desk in a square cubical with no windows, our threats were more about life and death, instead of career, popularity and paycheque. We were out in the field hunting and gathering for our next meals with trusted friends and relatives. Any threats would have been handled by fighting or fleeing!

When people do or say things that threaten our security, values or purpose, it’s as though we’ve been cornered by the enemy tribe. Instinct tells us “FIGHT!” or “FLEE!” but logic tells us we’re in an office, in a cubical. The deadliest weapon our enemy can use is a stapler (because the scissors are missing in action … again).

Hormones and chemicals shut off our brains and boost our bodies to help us FIGHT or FLEE but … we have work to do. We’re stuck. We react in angry outbursts, nasty revenge tactics and … yes … sometimes crying fits.

How do you stop the crying and the craziness?

You can’t change other people. You can only change your own actions and reactions. In a perfect world, you’d have workshop on Self-Leadership for your entire team. This workshop helps team members:

  • increase credibility, effective communication and job satisfaction;
  • eliminate or reduce behaviours that make coworkers crazy; and
  • better manage their own reactions to the bad behaviours of others.

If you can’t take the workshop, you CAN still stop the craziness.

  • Make note of all the things that happen just before the crying starts.
  • If you are not the crier, you can help someone who is by going backward step by step until you figure the exact thoughts that start the emotional chain reaction.
  • Once you know what starts the emotion and you recognize the very early warning signs, it’s easier to stop the reaction before it takes over.
  • It helps to know the fears related to your core values. This will help you get in control of your natural reactions to perceived threats before they take control of you. It helps to know how to suspend your needs surrounding your core values and get the person who is making you cry on your side … plus a few other easy skills you would learn in the GetThrival! Self-Leadership workshop.

Myth: It’s good to make people cry. It toughens them up and makes them better, more focused workers.

Fact: He who makes a person cry becomes the enemy. The person who cried will “toughen up” by shutting down. A career becomes “just a job”. Innovation is replaced by resentment. Focus turns to making you look like a jerk without exposing self to more pain and humiliation. Productivity becomes variable. Research data suggests a person can only remain in a position where their core values are threatened for a maximum of two years.

  • Good news for the tyrannical manager: Eventually the emotional person will leave, either by quitting or being fired.
  • Bad news for the tyrannical manager: In the meantime the emotional person will drag the team through their drama and may even take a few coworkers with them.

One more thing. If you’re making people on your team cry, watch your back, because no one else is watching it for you.

Solution: GetThrival! Self-Leadership workshop for the whole team and Transforming Leadership for managers and supervisors

 

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