Successful Morning Practices

Book Review: What the most successful people do before breakfast

Do books need to be two, three, four or five hundred pages long? Is there a prerequisite?

I know that the ‘thud factor’ gives credibility – lots of pages equates to lots of knowledge printed on lots of pages. However, I fear that a big book scares off potential readers. As I near my halfway mark of reading 52 books in 52 weeks, I’ve identified how to read quickly and how to create the time and space to read.

So, I was totally surprised to find that my choice of reading this week was completed in one night. A quick purchase on my Kindle based on the title was only 50 swipes. Complete with a few key lessons – enough to reflect on for the week.

Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People do before Breakfast presents her findings of what others do to make the most of their day.

My daughter Jennifer was perplexed with the cover of the book, a cup of coffee. She doesn’t like the smell of coffee and concerned that she’ll be unable to be successful! So, let's get beyond the cover and I’ll share what I learnt … very quickly!

Depending on what time you rise, and the time you have breakfast, there is a space to fill with activities which some say enables them to be successful.

We all have our own routines, rituals, quirky habits and a mindful of thoughts in the morning, so here’s your opportunity to TICK off if you’re aiding or hindering your successfulness:

·        Wake at 5am – or at a time which gives you an extra 60 to 90 minutes to use wisely

·        Reflect and or Pray on a daily basis

·        Prioritise items to tackle for the day

·        Avoid social media and especially email until you’ve completed a ‘chunk’ of real work

·        Journal your thoughts

·        Exercise - Run, walk, yoga or gym work

How many ticks do you have?

We all have 168 hours in our week and ‘successful’ people use a proportion of these hours a day to nurture their career, relationships and their self.

New research (prior to 2012) identified that self-discipline is in abundance after a good night’s sleep and depletes during the day. I think we’ve already worked that out – I know I can kick off with a healthy breakfast and then arrive at the evening snacking on potato chips while I cook dinner …. 12 hours later! We lapse as the day progresses and whilst some can squeeze in exercise after work or during their lunch break … the research tells us that morning is best; we are fresh and our internal motivation is in abundance to tackle tasks which the outside world isn’t demanding.

The best morning rituals are activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation. These are generally activities which have long term benefits.

So, if you had minimal ticks a few suggestions were offered to change:

·        Tracking your time – identify what you’re doing with your 168 hours a week

·        Picture your perfect morning – visualise what it would look like to be effective in the morning

·        Think through the logistics – what can you change around you to make it work

·        Build the habit – it’s like a muscle … keep practising

·        Tune up as necessary – keep correcting and get your early morning working

This is a seriously short book, however, it’s straight to the point and very implementable. I’ve already adopted the practice of ‘no social media’ in the morning until I’m having a coffee at 10.30am. (Let me tell you, when I do it, it's magic, however, it’s very difficult to change your habits!)

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

WHAT'S YOUR PROVOCATIVE QUESTION?

WHAT’S YOUR PROVOCATIVE QUESTION?

What do you collect?

I’ve met collectors of shoes, cars, houses and recipes! I simply or crazily collect questions.

Great questions can: transform a superficial conversation into an extraordinary relationship; unlock the real you … someone whom you thought you really knew and questions can elevate your happiness (think: Will you marry me?)

I glean questions at every opportunity. I record them, highlight them in a book, send myself recorded messages when I hear questions and their answers – quite alarming when I think of it!

So, it was very exciting to be handed a book which was filled with questions. That’s a Great Question, written or should I say, collated by Greg Bustin, provides on a platter, hundreds of tried and tested provacative questions, categorized into themed chapters – handy if you’re coaching others or as I found myself, using it as a self-help coaching book. Don’t be fooled thinking it’s a one hour read!

This book is your ideal, end of year practical exercise to prepare for 2017. As Greg suggests, take yourself away from your normal space; go hiking, block out a day to work through this book. Surprisingly, I am still reading this book today (Sunday) as I have found myself continually stopping in search on the answers.

In my business this week, we completed a mini-skills session with a client – exploring a couple of models to coach staff. I am always amazed how people come to realise how powerful a conversation becomes by using great questions to dig and discover.

Greg says that using questions effectively is like a dance. I agree. It’s not a checklist. It’s a conversation which you can exercise your lead but it’s about two people committed to working together. Whilst it might not look like Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers on the dancefloor, it should feel like a performance (of achievement).

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers - Courtesy of DHC Treasures

I couldn’t decide on a favourite question to share; so I’ve selected a few from a few of the thoughtfully categorised sections of the book. Use these on yourself and be surprised how time consuming it can be truthfully respond.

Purpose

If our company did not exist, what would the world be missing?What gives me a sense of certainty?

Values

What’s one principle I wished everyone practised?

Goal Setting

If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?

Trust

What am I kidding myself about?

How do I respond when I place my trust in someone and they let me down?

Communication

If a stranger walked in and asked any employee about our vision, mission and strategy, what would they hear?

Leadership

Do I behave differently in the office than at home? If so, in what ways? If so, what causes my behaviour to differ from place to place?

Time Management

If I tracked my time in 30 minute increments for a month, what would I find? Is this how I should spend my time?

Talent + Teamwork

Who are five people I spend most of my time with? Are they helping me or holding me back?

What am I doing to help make this job the best job my people have ever had?

Customer + Prospects

What memorable experience are we creating with our customers?

Making Things Happen

Do we measure the things that are important to us?

Are we having fun? Am I having fun?

Accountability

Whose job am I doing today? (I do like this question.)

Blue Sky

What would I do if I didn’t work?

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein

 

The book provides tips to help you coach others effectively, how to structure your questions, which words to never use and rules to abide by to establish a trusting relationship where private information is shared.

My greatest tip for you is to use the book on yourself first. Leadership works well when there is authentic self-awareness. Let this book be your gift to others by getting yourself ready for an awesome 2017. Alternatively, gift yourself a Coach for 2017 and get in contact with me to discover your best self.

 

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

No news is good news!

No news is good news!

In today's tech savvy world there is no excuse for no news. If you have no news, there is an appetite to still hear or understand that there is no news, no change or no update!

Most of us are attached to our devices and reading or hearing nothing is excruciating!

Whilst I type this in jest, how many times do you look at your device to check for expected messages?

I stood quietly for 150 minutes in a NZ airport queue with not one announcement. Asking 'airport' staff politely for an update didn't provide any satisfaction so I wasn't surprised when I heard later (whilst still at the airport) that things got 'ugly'.

How easy would it be for all us to be advised to tune into a channel on our device (in our preferred language) and advised with a prerecorded or live update. Or encourage passengers to use twitter and follow the airline/airport for 5 min updates. These are two simple solutions to share any news - even 'no news'!

If leadership is about influencing, then consider yourself accountable for keeping people informed. And, give people the option on how they want to receive the news: social media, email, website or face-to-face are options.

When I ask people "how frequently does your organisation keep you updated with news?" the response is varied. One statement I've not yet heard is: I wish they would slow down, they keep us up-to-date too regularly.

Pop this thought on your radar and be more aware of keeping people connected with news. Good news and no news!

 

 

 

What turns you on? People, Performance or Process?

What turns you on?

PEOPLE, PERFORMANCE OR PROCESS?

Do you have a natural inclination to be drawn to one of these three options?

Are you one who is accommodating and generally fueled by the interests of people?

Or, is it the outcome and in particular the performance that draws your attention?

Then there is process, are you more interested in how things work or come together?

I'm a performance person. Today I set me kids a challenge chart and they are busy building a boat at the moment. They've decided to make it a competition which excites me even more!

Whether you are a people, performance or a process driven person, you've got to understand that your communication preference doesn't work for others if you're driven by different motives. Fortunately, my two kids are excited with most challenges, so I talk in the 'performance' language - my native tongue!

With the constant change in our lives, we must be multi-lingual to ensure we maintain our relationships rather than mismanage them. Many folks are bi-lingual, they have two preference e.g. people & performance or process & people. This is more complex to interpret and many play the guessing game rather than get smart with their communications.

If you don't know the motivation language of your team or anyone who you have a vested interest in - then we need to talk ... now!

Leadership Basics

LEADERSHIP BASICS

I've been working with two dynamic women who operate a small business who called for help when they realised their desired business culture wasn't being experienced.

When we first met, I listened to their issues, concerns, wants and requirements and I identified immediately their glaring need: Leadership Basics.

We take for granted that we all have some experience and understanding of leadership however I was totally surprised that the entry level of leadership was required. Their personalities appeared quite different and it was interesting to observe how they communicated with their staff and each other.

To meet their urgency of 'help' I facilitated a meeting to demonstrate how to engage, involve, set standards, provide feedback and gain commitment and accountability with their staff. Following this meeting, I wrote a personalised Leadership Basics Plan - a day by day approach of how to leverage off the meeting. Finally, I hosted a coaching session using the TotalSDI* profile tool to help them build a plan to further develop their relationship building capacity.

In our world, we're bombarded with articles, books, tweets and quotes about the latest leadership skill, quality and strength needed to be successful. So, we can be forgiven when we ignore the need to build the foundations of leadership; the basics which include: two way conversations, listening and not interrupting, being consistent in our positive behaviour, providing feedback to reinforce and correct and the need to continually review how effective we are at being a leader.

 

By implementing this Leadership Basics Plan, the initial request of fixing the culture crash will be a natural outcome of being consistent in their leadership (if they stick to the plan!)

*TotalSDI is the newly branded title of Strength Deployment Inventory. We're about to launch a new look and new packages. It's totally awesome.

Visit my website page Leadership Basics

Follow The Leader

Follow The Leader

When I was a kid, I loved playing 'follow the leader'. We'd walk, skip or even run in a line and copy what the leader of the line was doing. It was so much fun. I found that my shy self always ran out of ideas of what to do and preferred following the others in the 'leader' role - it was much more fun and sometimes challenging to do what you were told.

I liken this to most people I meet. They prefer to follow others. They're not keen or interested to take the front of the line role and set the challenging tasks to be completed. However, they do like to be engaged and made to feel that they add value to what's been done.

I'm heading out in a moment to work with a client who plays  'Toe the Line' and they're concerned that their group of followers aren't committed to playing by the rules! They are continually told what to do and they're not following.

There are several reasons why they might not enjoy the 'toe the line' game.  So the client has called for guidance and we're 'work-shopping' the game with the followers. I'm going to introduce them to the game 'follow the leader' and see if they enjoy what it offers.

We can't push people to follow, however we can lead them and engage them to enjoy the game. Likewise we can't always be the leader in the game; it's worthwhile to play in the game to understand what's going on. 

Le't play!