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Changing Habits

Changing Habits Is A Campaign, Not An Event – Better! Results Tip #13

Several years ago, my speaking coach asked me to bring what he called ‘game tape’ to our next meeting. So I looked through the video recordings in my files from recent keynote presentations, and picked the one I thought was best. Two cameras, full lights, great stage in Las Vegas, and about 600 in the high-energy audience.

At our next coaching session, he loaded the disk into the DVD player, adjusted the sound, and we sat back to watch.

Six minutes in, he stopped the video and gave me the feedback I wasn’t expecting. “I can’t take it any more!”

After remembering that I was paying my results coach for no frills advice, I swallowed my pride and asked him what was wrong.

He smiled and pointed out three specific distracting habits I didn’t even know I had. Yet he saw them right away (and now I did, too).

The good news: they were only subconscious behavior habits. Things I could control 100% and could adjust immediately when I present. And I told him so.

His reply, “No you can’t. You’ve built these habits over 25 years, and thousands of live presentations and practice sessions. It will take at least a year of concentrated effort to un-do and replace them. You’re going to need a system of reminders and you’ll be leaning on these reminders every day until new Better! Habits overlay the old.” In short:

Fixing flawed and broken habits

is a campaign, not an event.

And he was right. It took a year, and I still fall back into those old distracting behaviors if I don’t pay active attention when I present.

Better! Habits Action Suggestion

  • Give yourself the gift of one minute of focused thought right now.
  • Pick one habit you KNOW you bring to your work that’s holding you back.
  • State that habit specifically – with precision and clarity.
  • Now think of one cheat-sheet idea that you can use to remind you every day about the habit you’re working to replace. A laminated card in your pocket. Wear your watch on the opposite wrist so that it feels funny and you remember why it’s there. Post-It Notes in strategic places where you work – so that you see them every few minutes and are reminded dozens of times each day.

Work on that one habit you’re trying to replace. Not two or three. One. And work that change like the campaign it is. Every day for as long as it takes to become your new muscle memory and normal way of doing things.

 


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.”

Learning to Embrace Change

Learning to Embrace Change

It’s human nature to seek out behaviors and paths where we find comfort, safety and routine. And once those routines are set, it can be very difficult to willfully change our ways. It’s a proven fact of human psychology: change causes anxiety. And anxiety causes us to resist new behaviors and maintain the safety of the ‘status quo’.

But here’s another unavoidable fact about change: it’s absolutely required for better results regardless of how you define them. When seeking goals in our personal or professional lives, changing our comfortable daily practices is a necessary but often daunting task. Learn to embrace change!

Growth and expansion require a willingness to change our habits. To replace what got us here with what’s needed to get us somewhere else. And although replacing comfortable habits may make us uncertain initially, we can counteract this unsettled feeling by being more conscious of the hundreds of changes we already make every day – without even thinking about them. Examples include:

Learning to Embrace Change

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• How you started a conversation this morning
• What you ordered for lunch
• The specific content of dozens of emails you send each day
• What you put in the cart at the grocery store
• Which TV channel you selected last evening
• What coat or shoes you’ll wear tomorrow depending on the weather forecast

These are just a few examples of our willingness to adapt to changing circumstances and our ‘mood of the moment’. Simple examples, to be sure. But they illustrate our pre-disposition to minor course corrections throughout our daily business and personal lives.

Now let’s jump to larger-scale habit changes needed to advance towards goals. If you’re looking to be more open to the possibilities that life provides, there are a few important factors that must be actively managed. Here are three.

• Plain Old Fear. Fear can be a powerful motivating force, but it can also be a major reason why we resist dropping habits that block our success. Change means embracing some uncertainty about outcomes, and uncertainty brings risk. Our fears instinctively kick in to protect us in uncertain situations. Acknowledging that fear is entering into our decision-making allows us to more effectively evaluate alternatives and choose a course of action.

Here’s a suggestion to help counteract fear. Take daily small steps. A sustained effort of small daily steps reduces anxiety. This approach allows us to evaluate results and adapt our approach easily. Keep your eye on the horizon- view of your goal. Know where you are ultimately headed. But take small steps initially to minimize fear-triggering uncertainty of change.

• Mental Roadblocks. We all give ourselves excuses for avoiding change. We doubt our abilities, question the likelihood of success, and believe we are generally fine with where we are today. Well, ‘Fine’ is the enemy of ‘Better’. ‘Comfortable’ is the roadblock to ‘Excited’ and ‘Fulfilled’. If you find yourself doubting your abilities, or questioning your comfort levels, you’re not alone. It’s important to remember that overcoming our personal and professional mental roadblocks allows us to see opportunity in every change, and remain open to new forms of success.

• Our Current Reality. We’ll all guilty of settling for the comfort and security of where we are right now. Existing habits have produced reasonable results with manageable risk. But that’s not a formula for goal achievement. Successful people who achieve their goals recognize that where they are right now – their current reality – is a great foundation to jump off to even greater heights. Our past is our past: no more, no less. Our past got us to our present, and our present is the springboard to our future. High achievers like you need to catch your breath, and then step up beyond the accomplishments of now to your goals of the future.

Once we realize change includes a heavy dose of opportunity for growth, it becomes easier to embrace change as something we must have to move forward, accomplish our dreams and exceed our goals.

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 35-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.”

 

 

Problematic Employees in Your Workplace

How to Deal with Problematic Employees in Your Workplace

Sooner or later, everybody’s going to work with someone that they simply don’t get along with. This becomes even more problematic when you’re the manager or owner of a company, and it becomes your responsibility to put out any fires that get started because of this person’s behavior.

So the question is, how do you go about resolving conflicts and deal with problematic employees in your workplace in an efficient way that doesn’t make the problem even worse?

Here are some steps you should consider when dealing with problematic employees:

  • Never ignore the issue. The longer you let a bad situation fester, the worse it will get. Sooner or later it will start to impact the effectiveness of your other employees and your organization as a whole. As the old Problematic Employees in Your Workplacesaying goes, “if you aren’t part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”
  • Get involved as soon as you hear about the issue. As soon as you become aware of a negative pattern of behavior, you need to intervene. It may be a situation where the employee has no idea that he or she is being difficult. But regardless of what the situation is, it’s on you to jump in as soon as possible.
  • Conduct a personal investigation into the problem. One tactic I recommend is bringing the employee in question into your office or a conference room where you can have a private one-on-one conversation about the issue at hand. This is also where you can give the employee a chance to respond to the allegations. If he or she refuses there’s a problem despite evidence to the contrary, focus their attention on the presence of a problem and less on the blame or resolution at this point.
  • Do what you can to help the employee correct his or her behavior. Hopefully after this discussion, your employee will understand that his or her behavior has caused problems. Take some time to coach the employee in appropriate behavior and give them time to adjust. Be sure to give feedback and positive reinforcement to help the adjustment process.
  • If the employee cannot or will not change, it may be time for more serious action. Nobody likes to discipline or fire an employee, but it’s better to let one person go than to let a problem spread throughout a business and damage the morale of your workplace. Be sure to document all instances of bad behavior, and follow any protocol in place at your organization when taking the discipline or termination route.

Whenever possible, your goal should be to resolve conflict situations that arise and help problematic employees to correct their behavior. But sometimes, this simply isn’t possible. The key is getting involved as quickly so you can put an end to the negative behavior right away.

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 35-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.”