Articles by: DATIS Guest

How To Praise Yourself at Work- And How Not To

This DATIS blog article, “How To Praise Yourself at Work- And How Not To", was originally posted by Alexander Kjerulf, The Chief Happiness Officer Blog, on January 20th, 2016 and was reposted with permission.

Is it OK to praise yourself at work?

Could you tell a coworker something like “Hey, let me tell you what I just did – it was AWESOME!”

Is it OK to send an email to the rest of your team to proudly share  that you found a creative solution to a tough problem?

Can you take a little time in a project meeting to tell others about that task you just completed on time and under budget?

Most people are reluctant to do that. They don’t want to seem arrogant or boastful or like they have a big head. But if you ask me, it’s perfectly OK to be proud of the good work you do AND to share that pride with others.

Just as an example, If I’ve given a speech that I felt went REALLY well (which happens all the time these days) I share that with my coworkers. I tell them what happened and what it was that worked so well.

However, self-praise can become really annoying if you do it wrong 🙂 Here are 8 tips for praising yourself at work:

1: Only praise yourself when you’ve earned it
Just like any other praise, self-praise must be earned. You must have done something awesome before you praise yourself, otherwise it’s completely meaningless.

2: Share the praise
If you praise yourself for something you’ve done together with others, then you must include them in the praise. In that case you don’t say “I’m awesome,” you say “We’re awesome.”

3: Don’t always only praise yourself
It’s no good if you always only praise yourself and never recognize others. It’s required of all of us self-praisers that we’re especially good at acknowledging the cool things others do.

4: Admit your mistakes too
If you’re good at praising yourself when you rock, you should be the first to admit when you suck, apologize for your mistakes and be willing to learn from them and improve. People who can only see the good they do and completely overlook their own flaws  invite nothing but scorn and contempt.

In fact, why not celebrate your mistakes?

5: Praise yourself with genuine enthusiasm
When you praise yourself, do it with an honest infectious enthusiasm. It’s OK to be proud of yourself. It’s OK to have a smile on your face, a spring in your step and pride in your voice when you share your accomplishments. In fact, it will be received more positively by others than if you do it with false humility.

6: Moderation in all things
It goes without saying that anything can be overdone – including self-praise. Don’t overdo it.

7: Practice, practice, practice
Practice makes perfect. It’s banal but true. Try it, see what works and then improve from there.

8: Be ready to face scepticism
Praise is sorely lacking from many workplace – including self-praise. This may lead to scepticism and resistance from others if you start doing it. If this happens, consider carefully if the criticism is because you’ve gone too far – in which case you should listen to it – or if it’s simply that people are not used to it – in which case you should continue doing it.

Why you should praise yourself
We can see four major advantages of self-praise. First, when you share your successes, others can learn from your best practices and maybe apply them themselves.

Secondly, genuine enthusiasm is infectious. When you share something that made you happy, others become a little happier too.

Thirdly, you can inspire others to also share their victories, so the whole team becomes better at sharing what works, to the benefit of all.

And finally, if you are good at praising yourself, you’re not as dependent on receiving praise from others. As Spencer Tracy put it:

It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn’t, and when it does, we may well reject it.

Why Great Leaders Value Reputation Before Revenue

This DATIS blog article, “Why Great Leaders Value Reputation Before Revenue", was originally posted by Steve RandazzoLinked2Leadership, on February 5th, 2016 and was reposted with permission.

In 1996, I walked away from my first million-dollar client. Anyone looking at my company’s profit and loss statements would have questioned my sanity.

We were less than a year old at the time, and this was by far our highest-profile customer. I made this seemingly crazy decision because I value my company’s reputation over its revenue.

Making Business Decisions

Many leaders rely on Excel spreadsheets to drive their decision-making. They think something is only worth doing if the numbers add up and the price is right. My company, on the other hand, uses a set of five core principles to gauge every business decision it makes:

  • Employees come first, always.
  • Work as a team; win as a team.
  • Reputation comes before revenue.
  • Commit to safety.
  • Make it happen!

Our big client didn’t share any of these values with us. Further, he was overly harsh with my team members and set unrealistic expectations. Our weekly status meetings with him became sources of dread because it didn’t matter how well the previous week went; it was never good enough.

The entire office’s morale suffered, and I had to make a decision:

Do I put my principles first, or do I put my revenue first?

I quickly realized that if I put revenue first, there didn’t seem to be much of a point in having principles. If I sacrificed our core values in the name of profit, how could my team ever respect me or our values again?

The decision became easy — we walked away.

Money is Fleeting. Reputation is Forever

As leaders, we’re often tempted to compromise things — be it ethics, principles, or happiness — to maximize short-term profits. While compromise might immediately boost our portfolios, it doesn’t necessarily help build our reputations.

I’d argue that a company’s reputation is all that really matters, and having a good one is the only way to ensure long-term success. It’s the reason my company has so many great clients today, and it’s the reason they constantly refer new business to us.

This is a philosophy that was instilled in me during my youth in the Midwest. We had a folksier way to sum it up, though:

Pigs get fat, and hogs get slaughtered.”

Everyone has a right to a living, but greed yields guaranteed downfalls — and I’m not interested in being a hog.

Staying on Course

The benefits of this approach aren’t just lasting. By removing immediate profits as sole drivers of business decisions, you’ll no longer be tempted to veer your company off course to accommodate difficult clients with deep pockets. This will solidify your brand as a stable, upstanding, and moral institution — and that reputation alone will drive your growth today and tomorrow.

The great corporate scandals of the world (think Enron) typically involve companies that value short-term revenues over all other considerations. And what does that earn them? Bankruptcy, bad press, and prison time.

Putting Principles Into Practice

Having personal principles is one thing, but having company-wide shared principles that guide every level of decision-making — from the corner office to the reception desk — is something that requires practice, patience, and communication.

Here are a few tips to help you instill this reputation-centric mindset into your company:

  • Provide mentorship and coaching. Look for opportunities to mentor, coach, and train your employees to make sure they have clear understandings of your company’s core values. Show them what it looks like, and feels like, to do the best quality work in your industry while maximizing your company’s reputation.
  • Ask great questions. There’s a management style called “inspect what you expect” that involves asking your employees quality questions to ensure the things you want completed are, in fact, being completed. It’s a low-impact form of oversight that’s more trusting and less stressful than full-on micromanagement — and it will help you determine what’s going on outside the walls of your office.
  • Align expectations. Meet with every employee and client to make sure they understand what your company is all about and how you got to where you are. Also provide them with a list of your core values, as well as specific examples of those values in action. This will give everyone a clear understanding of what to expect, and it will also show employees how to exceed expectations.
  • Make happiness your success metric. Don’t look at your bottom line to assess whether your company had a good year. Instead, look at the quality of your work, the happiness of your employees, the contentment of your clients, and the state of your recurring

Don’t let that one difficult, deep-pocketed client turn your business into something it isn’t. If you stay true to the values near and dear to your heart, the right clients will find you.

5 Keys for Successfully Communicating Big Decisions

This DATIS blog article, “5 Keys for Successfully Communicating Big Decisions", was originally written by Mike Figliuolo, thoughtLEADERS, LLC, on February 17th, 2016 and was reposted with permission.

It’s not enough to make the right decision. You have to ensure that decision is properly communicated if you want it to be successfully implemented. The bigger the decision, the more rigorous you have to be in communicating it. Here are 5 keys to communicating that decision well.

At some point in your career, you’re going to have to “make the call.” You’ll make a big decision that will affect a lot of people. Some will be happy. Some will be bent. If you want your decision to be successful, you’ve got to dedicate a significant amount of thought to how you’re going to communicate the decision to the organization.

There are five keys you should think about as you’re making big decisions:

Clarity. First, be clear about the call being made. Tell people exactly what the decision is. The crisper you are in explaining the decision, the higher the likelihood that they’ll carry it out.

Documentation. Document that decision so you have something to true back to. Remember, big decisions can take a long time to make. The results of those decisions can take a long time to mature and for you to see what happens. You’ll want a document to go back to and say “Here’s the decision we made and here was the underlying rationale.” It will help you and your successors understand why the decision was made. If things go awry, people can dissect the original rationale and understand what mistakes were made so those mistakes can be avoided in the future.

Rationale. Lay out the rationale for making the decision. Include the assumptions you made, the facts you were using to make the decision, and the sources of the information you used for making the call. When things change, you can go back to that rationale and find root errors in the data you had. You can understand how the market has changed from when you originally made the decision. You might find new opportunities to make a better decision. Business cases and “board decks” are good documentation vehicles for laying out the rationale for the call that you’ve made.

Dissemination. When making the call, do so in writing and disseminate your decision broadly across the organization. Avoid the most common problem that happens when people make a decision: misinterpretation. Many times, if you announce your decision verbally, the game of telephone occurs. Somebody who was there heard it firsthand. They heard the rationale but they interpreted it slightly differently than you meant to say it. Then they tell the members of their team and the rationale you shared changes slightly. Then those team members tell the members of their team and the rationale changes even more. By the time it gets disseminated across the entire organization, your rationale can be completely twisted. Sometimes folks will even communicate a decision contrary to the one you made. By documenting your decision in writing and making sure everybody gets the same information, the decision and your rationale for making it will be clear and consistent.

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So You Want a More Confident Team?

This DATIS blog article, "So You Want a More Confident Team?", was originally posted by anonymous, planetk2, on February 22nd, 2016 and was reposted with permission.

In supporting some great people over the last 4 Olympic Games and building up to number five, team confidence is something I’ve spent a huge amount of time thinking about and helping out with. Growing confidence further, or repairing it when it’s broken, makes no difference – the challenge is about more of it. So, how would I be helping your team?

Confidence is always on the agenda

Confidence building work is a classic example of common sense that isn’t commonly applied. So, get ready to start thinking about using these simple things consistently to deliver impact!

The best teams I’ve worked with have always had confidence on the agenda. They don’t wait for it to go missing before looking to grow it and they don’t relax when they feel they’ve got loads of it.

This means regularly having conversations about a couple of things:

1. What we’ve done this week to cement existing confidence more fully.

2. What we’ve done this week to add to the confidence we’ve already got.

Simple ideas, I’d be helping you stick to, very regularly!

That’s a great starting point, especially when it’s built on some other key ingredients.

Reasons to believe…

Although the focus is on team confidence, the best teams are full of individuals who know it’s their job to have really robust personal confidence so they’re ready to lead the team by example from their own position of strength, and here’s how I’d be supporting you:

1. Lead with Confidence

Each person on the team would share 2-3 qualities to be using every day to help the team deliver success. These qualities have to be based on things you have most confidence in and have a proven track record of making a great contribution with. As well as sharing them, you’re ready to let the rest of the team know, with confidence (!), HOW these qualities will actually make a difference.

2. Help me be more confident in you

Next we’d get everyone on the team letting everyone else know how, “you can really make a difference to my confidence in the team’s success by…”. This is a real chance to support and challenge each other to make the most of existing strengths, as well as doing obvious things that grow confidence further. Think simple things here that make an important difference.

3. We’re all in this together

Finally, we’d identify 3 or 4 key actions or activities that everyone would be focused on carrying out with great consistency. Seeing each other doing these things regularly reinforces collective commitment to success, but also makes sure there’s some shared sources of confidence to keep coming back to and exploiting.

Embrace confidence!

In most teams, confidence isn’t talked about anywhere near enough. If you want to fulfil your team potential, break away from that norm and talk confidence, a lot!

So, your challenge is to make sure that your team is in charge of it’s confidence, not hoping to have it.

Use the 3 steps above to get talking confidence regularly. That’s when the fun will begin:

  • Point out the great impact of individuals leading with their strongest qualities.
  • Thank each other when stuff has been done that’s really made a great impact on your confidence in the team.
  • Make sure the team is regularly checking in with how well the shared actions are being delivered and what impact they’re making.

Make this part of your team’s DNA and confidence will be a given.

On Leadership, Communication and the Personal Touch

This DATIS blog article, “On Leadership, Communication and the Personal Touch", was originally posted by Alison BrattleLinked2Leadership, on February 1st, 2016 and was reposted with permission.

Digital channels like email, instant messaging, social media, and video conferencing can make communication within a business a lot easier easier.

It can allow leaders and teams to keep in touch with the office even if you are on the other side of the world.

However, it is important to realise that these methods cannot completely replace face-to-face conversation.

The Power of Person

Indeed, speaking to someone directly offers several benefits that cannot be recreated digitally. Personal communication remains the best method for delivering crucial information. If you need to get an important point across, inspire your workforce, handle a sensitive issue, or move people to action, face-to-face remains the best way to effective communicate.

This is why leadership training should still contain a strong direct communication element.

This article looks at some of the reasons why a good leader in the digital world still needs the personal touch.

The Personal Touch

Personal Relationships

Despite the obvious convenience aspect of modern digital communication methods, a significant part of leadership involves forming personal relationships with the people you are leading.

This is much easier to do when you are in the same room as them, talking to them directly.

Furthermore, direct conversations allow you to give people your undivided attention. If you are on a video call, or using an online messaging system, you may become distracted by an email or by having multiple communication channels open at once.

Talking to someone on a one-to-one basis lets them know that you value them enough to drop everything else and allows more authentic, individual connections to form.

The importance of forming meaningful connections with your employees is often emphasised in management skills training and it is significantly more difficult, if not impossible, to do that through an electronic device.

Clarity and Nuance

One of the primary advantages of digital communication is said to be speed. And indeed, when it comes to simply getting a message to someone else, it can be extremely quick. However, that speed can be counter-balanced by a lack of clarity, ultimately making it less efficient than face-to-face conversation.

Mina Chang, CEO of Linking The World explains it this way:

It’s easy to misinterpret a text or email. For sensitive or otherwise important communication, having tone and body language for context makes a difference.”

Research shows that effective communication relies on non-verbal cues. Generally, digital communication removes these, along with nuance, increasing the chance of misinterpretation. Tone, for instance, cannot be conveyed through email or text messaging, while even video communication impacts upon the ability to read body language.


Throughout their leadership career, people will encounter a number of serious or sensitive issues, which need to be dealt with carefully. For example, they may need to address an employee’s personal appearance, deal with a complaint about workplace bullying, or give a staff member a strong verbal warning about their conduct.

Dealing with such issues face-to-face demonstrates your personal commitment to reaching the best possible outcome. It helps to foster a greater level of trust between you and the employee in question and it is the best way to ensure that their dignity is preserved and your message is clear.

Reactions and Feedback

Finally, leadership often relies upon feedback and the ability to gauge reactions accurately, which can be done more easily through direct communication. You may notice hesitations or changes in facial expressions, which can act as a cue for you to develop points further or ask for opinions.

This ability is inevitably lost through digital communication channels.

Employees like to feel as though they are valued and their contributions to discussions matter. Once again, it is easier for them to make contributions during face-to-face conversations, which allow for interruptions or deviations.

Moreover, people pay closer attention and participate more actively in conversations if the person they are speaking to is actually present. This is partly because they are also aware that that person can pick up on their reactions.

How Extraordinary Leaders Transform Self-Sabotage Into Success

This DATIS blog article, “How Extraordinary Leaders Transform Self-Sabotage Into Success", was originally posted on SmartTribes Institute and was reposted with permission.

What’s your poison?

Most people have something they do that they wish they didn’t—and often we excuse ourselves by naming other things we are doing that are good. For example: “It’s okay that I’m having this donut, that was a tough client call, I did well, and I deserve it.”

But if we were really coming from self-love and self-care we might not be shoving a ball of fat and fast carbs into our mouth. This behavior is actually just a habit to soothe ourselves. And as we learned previously those small habits add up.

Put The 2×4 Down

Unfortunately, we often try to change these self-sabotaging habits by making ourselves wrong about them. We beat ourselves up, make New Year’s Resolutions, think of ourselves as weak…and hope that the “good guy” wins. But, as Carl Buchheit says in his article 10 Delusions of Personal Growth“if one part of us wins over another part of us, who is it exactly who’s won?”

Key to remember when transforming self-sabotage is this: the behavior you dislike was once a solution. And not just any solution—it was the absolute best solution you had at the time. Behavior always, always, always has an Intended Positive Outcome (IPO). But the method of achieving that outcome just got locked in early in life and is now out dated.

So instead of fighting self-sabotage we want to learn to love it.

It’s Not A Bug, It’s A Feature

Let’s start by calling it something different. Instead of calling it “my horrible donut habit” or “self-sabotage” or something derogatory, rename it as something positive, solution-oriented or at least neutral. I call the part of me that needs recuperation time “my sensitive self”. If I feel like donuts or junk food or am overwhelmed and grumpy, it’s often because my sensitive self is feeling a bit crumpled or trodden on.

And the thing is, I LOVE my sensitive self. It’s the part of me that excels at compassion. That’s why I’m good at what I do. So I’ve given my sensitive self a voice, a new methodology to get me some respite instead of reaching for the cookie jar or lashing out. It tells me when I need to take a bath, enforce a boundary, go to bed early, or recall my energy in other ways.

The Intended Positive Outcome (IPO) is the same—protection–but by honoring that part and by not making it wrong, by giving it a voice and listening to it, I can choose different methods to get that same outcome of protection and soothing.

Do Try This At Home

Step 1: Define The Present State. What exactly is the behavior that’s not working? Get very clear in your mind what the trigger is, what specifically you are doing and what happens during and afterwards. How is this useful? How is it not?

For example, let’s say you are staying up late zoning out in front of the TV on week-nights when you have to get up early. Notice exactly what happens. Are you tired to begin with and TV feels soothing and rebellious? Does going to bed early require effort and maybe feels like succumbing to a different—less cool—version of yourself? Hmm. Maybe the “staying up late behavior” does not actually support your best you.

Step 2: Find the part responsible. Take a few deep breaths and let your body lay or sit back. Close your eyes. Let the “part” of you that is responsible for the behavior come into your awareness. Your parts can be like little personalities on their own, with names and opinions. You created this part to help you achieve a specific positive outcome (even a seemingly vindictive part always has an IPO—possibly to feel good or be safe). Ask the part directly “What do you wish for me to have or accomplish by doing this behavior?”

Step 3: Establish the part’s core motive (IPO). Keep asking the part “what” and “why” questions until you’re clear. Often the answers track back to safety and self-love. Release any judgement. Remember this behavior was the best solution a younger you had. Let the part know you’ll never fire it. You created that part to achieve something important and it’s been doing a great job. Once you are clear on the IPO you can negotiate with the part about using a different methodology.

In our late night TV example, the IPO might be self-expression (perhaps a teenage version of yourself that learned to watch TV late to cope with fatigue from demands of school and parents, and still have a sense of self).

Step 4: Ask the part if it would be willing to update its method. You can offer some suggestions, bring in wise or creative parts, or just leave it to the part. Be really clear about how the method isn’t working (from Step 1). Keep working with the part, honoring the IPO, until you reach agreement. In our example the part might receive a promotion. It’s now in charge of getting you to bed and of adding a creative spice to your life (a different method to achieve the IPO of self expression).

It is easier to respond to the intention of a behavior rather than the problem. It also helps us to groove our brains in useful ways.

So try it! You’ll be surprised to find out how hard those parts of yours that do “sabotage” you are actually working, however misguidedly, on your behalf.

Technology's Role in Recruiting

In a business environment that is constantly changing, it can be difficult to find top talent that doesn’t just meet the qualifications, but also fits in with the culture of your organization. Since 65% of organizations have a team of two or less recruiters, many organizations are beginning to search for new alternatives to source the right candidates, mostly ones that utilize technology. In 2016, there are going to be many ways that technology can change the recruiting process.

Résumés to Online Profiles

In the past four years, professional websites like LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and Monster have seen an increase in use by 73%. These websites make it easy to upload résumés, cover letters, credentials, and any other important documents. A recruiter is now able to locate information regarding potential candidates with just a click of a button.

Displaying Real-World Skills

A 4.0 GPA doesn’t hold as much weight as it once did. Candidates are now able to show off their real-world skills in various ways. For example, if a candidate is a good writer, they are able to showcase their work through a blog. The same thing applies for a candidate in search for a graphic design position. This candidate can create a website that shows off a specific skillset regarding design, graphics, effects, and more.

Content Branding

A CareerBuilder survey found that 91% of candidates agreed that an organization’s employer brand is a major factor in whether or not they apply. With the internet, organizations are able to disperse various content pieces through numerous channels. For example, an organization can post pieces on their website and then also send out messages that contain the pieces via email or social media. Regularly updating and utilizing social media platforms helps with building brand awareness and increasing equity.

Pre-Screening Technology

Many systems, such as a fully unified HCM solution, allow applicants’ qualifications to be automatically reviewed and compared to job requirements before the application and résumé get passed along to the hiring manager. This saves time for the hiring manager and ensures that applicants are fully qualified for a position before being brought in for an interview.

Mobile Job Seeking

Glassdoor estimates that 90% of candidates will search for a job via their smart phone. Phones are easily accessible and convenient to use at any time, anywhere. It’s easy to read about job postings in the palm of your hand. However, if a career site is not optimized for mobile devices, a study by CareerBuilder reports that 65% of candidates will leave that career site without taking any action.

Overall, technology is continuing to advance, forcing us to adapt to new methods. These new methods are creating a more efficient and productive work environment by streamlining processes. Furthermore, the new technology is helping organizations enlist top talent while reducing time-to-fill, all while ensuring that the organization is compliant with laws and regulations. Organizations are embracing these changes in technology, as the benefits are immense.

This DATIS Blog was written by Ally Edwards, DATIS, on March 2nd, 2016 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Driving Accountability Through Incentives and Consequences

This DATIS blog article, “Driving Accountability Through Incentives and Consequences", was originally written by Mike Figliuolo, thoughtLEADERS, LLC, on March 2nd, 2016 and was reposted with permission.

Accountability starts with clear communication around what you expect people to deliver. Once they know what they’re on the hook for, it’s all about using incentives and consequences to drive and reinforce behavior.

Accountability starts with clearly defining what you expect people to deliver. Are there numbers they’re supposed to hit? Deliverables they’re expected to complete? Processes they’re supposed to manage? Dedicate time to spelling these expectations out explicitly. Failure to do so isn’t fair to anyone involved. You can’t hold people accountable for performance if you haven’t told them what you expect of them.

Once you’ve defined what people are accountable for, you need to drive their behaviors. Incentives are a very powerful way for doing so. Leaders can create incentives for people who over-deliver on their accountabilities. Things like bonuses or promotions can be powerful motivators to drive the behaviors you’re seeking.

You can also use punishment or disincentives when people fail to live up to those accountabilities. Meting out consequences, while not enjoyable, is an effective method for changing behavior if you’re not able to get the results you expect by using positive reinforcement.

Allow me to offer an example. When I was part of an operating division of a large corporation, we knew very clearly what we were accountable for. We had revenue targets and customer count targets. One year we missed our numbers, and we didn’t get a bonus. It was extremely frustrating. We knew exactly why. We knew what the metric expectation was in terms of customer counts, and we fell short. But it was really difficult watching our colleagues in other divisions get big bonuses that year, because they met expectations.

The next year, again, we knew what we were accountable for. The numbers were clearly spelled out, and we exceeded our numbers and got a huge bonus that year. The incentives worked, it drove the right set of behaviors. Additionally, in that situation, individuals could still get merit increases based on their own performance of their specific accountabilities. So even in the year where the division didn’t get a bonus, we did have people who had done a great job, and they did receive extra incentives.

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Developing the Power of a Resilient Mind

This DATIS blog article, “Developing the Power of a Resilient Mind", was originally posted by planetk2, on February 29th, 2016 and was reposted with permission.

Resilience seems to be a hot topic at the moment. When times are challenging and we’re facing many changing demands, the ability to withstand what is thrown at us and bounce back quickly from set backs is all-important. So we asked our athlete ambassador, Sophie Radcliffe, to explain what resilience means to her.

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like if you never got knocked back? Things happen to us daily that hit us and disrupt our path to our goals. Physically, a knock can result in injury and distress, but often it’s mentally a knock that can affect us the most, hitting confidence and determination right where it hurts.

The times we get hit
It’s happened to me many times. In a flash I’ll change from being the warrior I know I can be. Standing strong and confident in the preparation for my pursuits; running a marathon, giving a motivational talk, launching a new campaign. The set-back happens, I retreat and question everything.

I feel like it’s in the preparation for my biggest goals and achievements that I can get knocked back. Once I’m out there in the arena, I’ve committed and I’m doing it. I’ve overcome all the obstacles that could have knocked me back and I’ve reached the moment to perform. But what of those times when I didn’t overcome the obstacles, the doubts, the setbacks, the fears?

Those are the times my mind got the better of me and my resilience wasn’t strong enough to see me through.

Training resilience
I love to run, swim, climb and cycle. As an endurance athlete, I set myself challenges to explore the mountains, lakes, trails and forests and test myself against the force of nature. The outdoor world gives me a chance for inward exploration. When climbing a mountain, there is so much to contend with. It’s a constant process of testing my limits, understanding the risk around me, managing it and finding a way to continue despite everything the world and my body throws at me. My aching legs, my tired mind, the driving rain, the loneliness, cold and fear. All of these are enemies in my objective to climb the mountain, but I learn how to persist and drive forward. It’s resilience.

The times we get up
Rocky Balboa said “it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”. Champions are made when they get to what feels like the end of the road, to the bottom of the tank, to the darkest of moments, and they find a way to pick themselves up and keep moving forward.

I practise this every time I set myself a challenge that requires me to fight for what I want and who I believe I can be. If I wanted to stay the same, I would stay in the comfort of my home and do the same things I’ve always done.

The power of resilience
I don’t want to stay the same. Not in the same place, nor be the same person. I want to grow, learn, adapt and discover how I can be the very best version of myself.

That person is a resilient person. A person who can keep moving forward when it becomes hard, cold, lonely, I run out of money. When I fall over, or someone closes a door in front of me and says “you can’t do that”. After years of training, I’ve learnt how to give strength to the voice inside that says “yes you can” and I find a way to make it happen.

The Secret Behind Executive Presence

This DATIS blog article, “The Secret Behind Executive Presence", was originally posted on SmartTribes Institute and was reposted with permission.

Here’s the counter intuitive secret of developing more executive presence. Stop worrying about how you are perceived. Take the focus off yourself, your image and put it on what’s important in that moment. Focus. Increase your ability to listen, to really be with who you’re with (no matter what) and to get on their map. Increase your sense of purpose and use it to keep your High Value-added Activities (HVAs) prioritized.

Focus, it’s that simple. You know what’s great about this secret? It’s skill based. And that means anyone can learn it.

Seek First To Understand
Think about being with the worst teacher you ever had. Most likely they stood at the front of the room and lectured. One of the worst teachers I had used to spend the class time writing her outline notes on the blackboard and reading them as she wrote in a monotone voice. Seriously. She spent the entire class with her back to us. Influential? I think not. Unless you count having the class learn to hate history.

Now think of the best teacher you had. Chances are they engaged you in the subject. They asked you questions and made you think. One of my best high school teachers used to act out passages from the novels we were reading and engaged us in his mini-dramas. He risked looking like an idiot and ended up looking like a genius. We all vied to participate in his class and students who hadn’t liked English Literature before that year suddenly blossomed into literati.

Who had more executive presence, your worst teacher or your best?

I’m guessing it was the best teacher. Executive presence is not a term I would normally ascribe to teachers, but a teacher who does seriously dorky things to get their students fired up about a topic is going to be exuding purpose and passion. Their focus is on their students, calibrating their learning and understanding by the questions they ask. The worst teachers are too afraid of how they’ll appear to do anything risky. They focus on their own need to feel smart and they focus on their own content output rather than how the information is received and where the student is.

The principle is the same in leading a business.

The key is to getting on other people’s maps. It turns out that taking the time to listen and build rapport by meeting people where they are is the most influential thing you can do.

Your executive presence will increase dramatically when you focus on staying in inquiry mode even, or especially, when you think you know the answer. And no leading questions either, stay curious.

Leading On Purpose
Who do you know that’s on fire? Who do you know that really embodies your ideal of leadership?

What do they stand for? I’ll bet you know immediately or can take a pretty accurate guess.

Prioritizing is a lot easier when you know what you stand for and are excited about your purpose. It’s easier to delegate when you know that you’re freeing your time for something that only you can do, your High Value-added Activities (HVAs). It’s easier to delegate also when you’re clear on the HVAs of your team. Remember, your Low Value-added Activity (LVA) is someone else’s HVA.

• What do you stand for?

• Where do you draw boundaries of what you will and will not do–how you spend your time and with whom?

• How does that contribute to fulfilling your organization’s mission, vision, and values?

Take a few moments to really answer those questions.

Clarity of purpose is the embodied state that allows you to effectively stay in inquiry mode and be present. Clarity of purpose is the most effective criteria for deciding what is an HVA and what is an LVA. Clarity of purpose creates focus, and focus creates executive presence.

Go to it!