Become a Relevant Expert – Better! Results Idea #10

Relevant

 It’s limiting to believe we have nothing unique and valuable to offer others through our work. Too many employees think, “Anyone could do this job.”

Agreed. Some job positions are easier to learn and execute than others. But all jobs in our complex business environment require a degree of expertise before mastery is attained. And mastery is the goal in any worthwhile work.

Here’s what we all must do: become an acknowledged expert on something relevant to our work.

Let me drill into that statement a little deeper.

Expert

Experts are not self-declared. They are known by others to be sources of knowledge, effective practices and better results. Experts are the folks we all look to in our work to teach us, show us and counsel us. Could be the person in the next cubicle or the owner of the locker three down from our own. Our job is to become “the one” others seek out as they look for the best.

Why and when do others look to you for knowledge or guidance? If an idea doesn’t immediately pop into your thoughts, time to get to work on developing an answer. Identify something about your job that you really enjoy – and get so good at it that others will know “You are the best!”

Relevant

To state what is most likely obvious: your expertise must be relevant to the organization where you work. Being an expert photographer or public speaker is great, but may not be relevant in the machine shop where you create precision components.

By the way, don’t tell others you’re the best. No one likes people who do that. Just be the best. Offer to help others, coach, give freely of your knowledge and your time. They’ll notice, and you’ll become so valuable to the organization that opportunity will flow your way.

Identify some aspect of your current job and become the expert in this area. Hopefully your annual performance appraisal will positively reflect your expert results.

Better still – become an expert in something relevant to the next job that you want. What better way to impress a potential supervisor or employer than demonstrating your legitimate existing expertise in

 

John J. Hall, CPA


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

Be Honest – What’s Holding You Back? – Better! Results Tip #9

Career Goals

 Coaching client Katie expressed her frustration with great passion and clarity. “I just can’t get the traction I need to move my career forward at the speed I want. Or any speed most days!”

Bang! She nailed it! So while she was in this charged-up state, we immediately invested 15 minutes in a simple exercise you or I can easily do on our own. We made a list of specific factors Katie believed were holding her back in her career.

Here are ten items from Katie’s list. She rattled these off in this order in less than three minutes!

  1. A tendency to stall; to procrastinate rather than to take even simple first steps.
  2. A difficult boss – who has a consistent habit of refusing to coach his subordinates in any area of their skills.
  3. Time, or rather the apparent lack of it.
  4. Inexperience and fear of speaking in front of others.
  5. Feeling tired and worn down from the pace of daily commuting in traffic, deadlines, other staff who don’t pull their own weight, excessive email volume, and dozens of daily interruptions by others that break her concentration.
  6. Lack of access to difficulty building rapport with those higher up in the organization.
  7. A business environment where collaboration is outwardly discouraged.
  8. Too many ‘bends’ in even the most simple of processes – a bend being any step, approval, document or other administrative hurdle that slows the process down for no apparent benefit.
  9. Constant low priority busy work – draining limited energy away from getting important things done.
  10. Unclear performance criteria.

CareerI acknowledge that the creation of a list doesn’t solve anything. Far from it. But rather than a foggy feeling of general frustration, it gives us clear baseline to work from. From your list, you can take the next steps of identifying the factors you have control over and lay out a plan of action. You can also focus in on factors you can’t control, and devise a plan to work around, over, under or with these barriers.

The first step of any improvement plan is the gift of quiet time to assess where we are right now, what specific factors around us move us forward and which ones get in our way. From that analysis, a plan comes next.

Be honest – what’s holding you back? Give yourself the gift of 15 minutes of quiet time to develop your list. Decide right now which factors you can address and the ones you have to tolerate at least for the short run. Write it out in a bullet point list. It it’s not written, it’s not a plan. Then act on the issues you can influence. Simple steps every day add up to measurable results.

No one else is responsible for your progress except you. Like Katie, take complete control of your future. Right now – make a list, build a plan, and start taking action.

 

John J. Hall, CPA


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

Get A Little Exercise – Better! Results Tip #8

 

2 PM, and I’ve been sitting at my dStuckesk since early this morning. Two cups of coffee, and a very short lunch break. The projectdeadline is just a few days away, and I’m feeling stuck, lethargic, and totally un-creative. Time to giv
e myself the free gift of a walk around the block. I know when I get back in five minutes, everything will flow smoothly again.

I love to play – basketball, ride my bike, snowboard, canoe. Anything that feels like a game. But I HATE to exercise – go to a gym, sit on a stationary bike, lift weights, run the treadmill. HATE is a strong ugly word. But I’m sticking with it!

I know exercise is good for me. Exercise tunes up the body. Exercise makes the blood flow to the brain and everywhere else. Exercise flushes the toxic. Exercise increases creativity.

I know all of this, but still I have a history of resisting exercise if it doesn’t involve ‘playing’ in even a small way.

So here’s what I do – and I challenge you to play along with me.

I walk. At least one mile every day. That takes about 20 minutes. And to make it a game, I keep a log on a very basic Excel spreadsheet. Every day, I know whether I’m ahead or behind. If I skipped yesterday, I do two miles today. If I get ahead, sometimes I’ll give myself a day off as a reward. I start on January 1 and keep it going until December 3. 365 miles per year, one day at a time.

Walk A Mile Every Day On pleasant days, I’ll walk through the neighborhood – ten minutes out, turn around and ten minutes back. In bad weather and while traveling, I’ll walk in client offices, hotel hallways, airport terminals, shopping centers, and college classroom buildings. I intentionally park at the far side of shopping centers and airport economy parking lots, and walk in. Our townhome has 42 steps from the basement to my workspace. I bet I walk 500 steps up every day I’m home.

So simple, even I can do it! And you can too. That’s my challenge to you: to walk one mile with me every day for a year.

Of course, if you regularly engage in more serious exercise, bless you! Continue on your mission to stay fit, healthy and happy. But if you’re a victim of long hours sitting at a desk, there are no worthy excuses to avoid starting today and walking for just 20 minutes. Twice around your office building or the city bock where you live should do it.

The subtitle for my first book “Do What You Can!” is “Simple Steps – Extraordinary Results”. I didn’t write that tag line, a very creative professional writer did. But I love it just the same, and it has become a major theme in my work and personal life. Simple steps. Why not get up right now and literally take a few simple steps. In 20 minutes, you’ll log your first mile. When you get done, see if you feel more creative. I always do – every time!

 

John J. Hall, CPA


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

Ask “How May I Help You?” – Better! Results Tip #7

“How may I help you?” is a simple yet powerful offer. Every one of us has something to offer others. Help them with a problem, a challenge or a moment of opportunity.

“How may I help you?” is a simple yet powerful offer.

It tells the other person that you’re interested in them. It positions you as someone who is open to providing value. And in the right circumstances, it can credential you as someone with the answers.

Here’s an example from my coaching client Charlotte. In meetings with her clients and co-workers, when an issue or need is expressed her ‘go-to’ reply is always the same. “How can I help you?”

To the listener, Charlotte is seen as a source of ideas. She is solutions ­rather than problems focused – a very rare commodity in business, politics and society in general today.

What usually follows this question is a reply that her offer is appreciated. People say, “Thanks, Charlotte. That’s very kind of you. Can we just kick around ideas for a few minutes?”

Now here’s the pivot moment that brings extra value. During the subsequent discussion, Charlotte concentrates on asking questions. She rarely offers opinions unless directly asked. Instead she helps the other person think Better! She provides presence, empathy, and appropriate distance while leading through targeted questions.

Here’s a quick example of a rather typical exchange over lunch with fellow manager, Michael.

Michael: “This new project has me stumped.”

Charlotte: “That’s interesting. How may I help you?”

Michael: “Thanks Charlotte. You always offer and I always appreciate it. I’m thinking on this current challenge, I’ve become so deep into the details that I can’t seem to see where it’s all headed. It’s all foggy to me right now.”

Charlotte: “I hate feeling like that. Would it help if you took a deep breath and walked me back through what this project is intended to accomplish?”

Michael: “Yes, thanks. Let’s do that, if you don’t mind.”she asks simply, direct guiding questions.

For the next five minutes, Charlotte remains completely focused on Michael’s words, She is completely present. And where appropriate, she asks simply, direct guiding questions.

As they finish their lunch, Michael tells Charlotte that he feels better about what he needs to do next to get the project back on track. He thanks Charlotte for helping him regain perspective by encouraging him to start back at the beginning to regain his lost perspective.

All Charlotte did was give Michael a chance to talk about his issue, but Charlotte’s approach of asking guiding questions caused Michael to ‘think better’ about his project. She helped Michael add a step or two of distance and to thereby see the issues from a better perspective. Charlotte didn’t offer one specific suggestion. She used questions to help Michael arrive at his own Better! perspective and action plan.

Follow Charlotte’s example and make “How may I help you?” become your automatic response to others in need. See how it works out for you.

And if you want to go deeper, read David Rock’s powerful book “Quiet Leadership”. You’ll learn a great deal more about how and why the approach of guiding questions works.

John J. Hall, CPA

 


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

Embrace That You’re Self-Employed (Even if You’re An Employee) – Better! Results Tip #6

This is where the concept of us all being self-employed comes in.When I bring up this concept at my live training events, I always get quite a few skeptical looks. And I certainly understand – because most of the participants in my Better! Results seminars are employees, supervisors and managers. That means they work for someone else, draw a salary, have benefits, travel each day to a job location someone else provides, and follow a daily work schedule dictated by someone above them in the organization hierarchy.

So if that’s the case for most in the room, how is it relevant for me to tell them that they are self-employed?

Well, let’s try this angle.

In it’s simplest form, in today’s business world we all serve and report to someone else. A boss, the board, a client, or a customer across the deli counter where you’re making sandwiches. Every one of us shares the experience of serving someone else in our work roles. This is where the concept of us all being self-employed comes in.

It’s not about who pays us, assigns tasks or provides formal annual feedback. It’s simply a state of mind. Do I see those I serve in my work as customers or something else?

Try to imagine if every person in every business organization handled their work, their preparation, and their interaction with others as though they were in fact self-employed? What if we all thought, “If I’m not ready for my weekly staff meeting tomorrow I could lose the client!” Or “If I don’t do a high quality job every day – bringing measurable value to my clients – I won’t get paid.”

This is what I mean when I suggest that we’re all self-employed. It’s not whether we own and operate our own business, it’s just a state of mind in how we conduct ourselves in our work.communicate better, listen more attentively, and be more present?

It applies in our personal life as well. What if we looked at our family, neighbors and others with the same view as customers? Would we not be more aware of their legitimate needs, their points of view and perspectives. Couldn’t this simple shift in focus position us to communicate better, listen more attentively, and be more present?

Please understand that I’m not suggesting that we become artificially subservient to others in our actions. The old expression that “The customer is always right” simply isn’t true. But what is true is that the ‘customer is always a customer’.

Try it for one week. Try to maintain a “What if I were self-employed and this person was my customer?” focus in interactions with co-workers, supervisors and other departments in your job. See if this perspective doesn’t bring about better results for you – on your terms.

If so, try it again for another week, and so on into the future until this perspective becomes a new and Better! habit.

 

John J. Hall, CPA


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

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