Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/johnhall/public_html/johnhallspeaker.com/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-seo-premium/frontend/class-frontend.php on line 1086
social_icon__apple
social_icon__behance
social_icon__bitbucket
social_icon__blogger
social_icon__dribble
social_icon__dropbox
social_icon__facebook
social_icon__flickr
social_icon__github
social_icon__googleplus
social_icon__googleplay
social_icon__instagram
social_icon__linkedin
social_icon__pinterest
social_icon__skype
social_icon__tripadvisor
social_icon__tumblr
social_icon__twitter
social_icon__vimeo
social_icon__youtube
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.”

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.”

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.”

Be Attractive – Better! Results Tip #5

What the heck does that mean? Be attractive!!!

What the heck does that mean? Be attractive!!!

John, are you suggesting that we buy fancy clothes and expensive shoes, wear makeup, get cosmetic surgery to compensate for perceived facial flaws, and do whatever else can be done to make ourselves more pretty or handsome?

Certainly not.

What I’m suggesting is to become more aware of whether our work habits and communication styles attract or repel others.

For example, if we’re perceived as harsh, pushy, overwhelmed, disorganized, consumed by drama, selfish, unreliable or unfocused, will others want to be around us or not?

On the other hand, if we’re known for being on time, prepared, outwardly-focused, solutions-driven, polite, and present, isn’t it more likely that co-workers, supervisors and customers will want to work with us?

Let me give you two examples. As a supervisor, Jim has the reputation of being unreasonable and harsh on his young staff. He barks out commands without explanation, hides in his office behind stacks of paper and side-by-side computer screens, is consistently late for meetings, provides no coaching or feedback to his employees, and then wonders why his employee turnover rate is the highest in the company.

Jim complains to his peers that his staff is just plain lazy and that he can never find motivated job candidates to fill the ever-present openings. He seems to be in a perpetually foul mood, hates to be interrupted, and makes it clear by his facial expressions and overall demeanor that he sees it as a waste of his time when his so-called team asks him questions.

Then there is Ann.

Ann’s folks love working for her. She is polite, patient and present when her employees come to her for guidance. She gives clear instructions followed by relevant real-world examples. Ann freely shares her management reports and her boss’s expectations with her team. She tells each employee that her job is to make sure every one of them could potentially replace her at some point.

And before I forget, Ann smiles. A lot.Ann is no pushover.

At the same time, Ann is no pushover. She holds her employees to deadlines and commitments, expects the best from everyone every day, and never hesitates to provide quick feedback when an employee isn’t pulling their weight. Her employees will tell you that they feel disappointed when they let her down.

Result, Ann’s turnover is the lowest in the company. Most of her employees couldn’t image working for someone else. And Ann’s managers love her, too. She’s reliable, pleasant, always prepared. Her team is given the most interesting and creative challenges to solve, and she comes through every time because she has a deep list of experts throughout the organization who look forward to working with her.

By the way – Jim and Ann have identical positions in two regional offices in the same company.

One final but important point. I’m not suggesting that we become artificial or sugary-sweet in our efforts to be attractive to others. Legitimacy, congruency and authenticity are the foundation.

So let me ask, are you ‘attractive’ to others? Do they want to work with or for you? Or do they prefer to run the other way when they see you approaching?

We have the power to control how other people see us. And how people see us has a definite impact on their willingness to help us achieve our goals.

Next time you have the chance, make a decision to ‘be more attractive’. Then pay attention to the result.

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.”

next page