Saturday, March 24, 2007

Time to Automate

My new motto is automate everything that’s automatable. I want to be doing what I love to do and that’s my work (which is more like play), research, developing new concepts and ideas and models with which to implement them. I do not want to be spending any more time on administrivia than I have to. The thing is, even when we automate processes, we still have to be ready to launch whatever it is the process will broadcast. Thus the delay. Even though I had asked the question a while back “What would you do if you had an extra 15 minutes every day?” which did, by the way, draw quite a few antagonistic responses, we don’t have that extra 15 minutes every day. So I have to find those 15 minute chunks on the run. And d’you know what? I can and I do!

I was on the phone with one of my editors and when I said to him “Another article? I need lead time, I can’t just churn out 1500 words at such short notice” his response was “Hey Donna, you have a plane trip coming up and I know you write like hell when you’re traveling”. OK. So he knows me really well.

Even though I love technology and think it’s the greatest thing since 7-Up as my dad would say, I never go anywhere anymore without my three small notebooks. Hey I create them for clients, why not use them for me? One is for writing ideas, so whenever a lightbulb goes off about something to write on this blog, one of the other two blogs I contribute to or an article here or there, I jot it down so I’m never short of subject matter. The second notebook is all about leadership; nuances, words that come out of my clients mouths that help define and describe leadership. I write programs around these ideas. And lastly I have one for business ideas. That’s the notebook that’s had a lot more action lately. Every time I have an idea about how to create virtual programs, it goes there.

Now that I have a third of my notebook written and in place, it’s time for Sandra to come and help me automate it. The ideas are mine. The collaborative interaction with user is there. The delivery, however is through technology. So I no longer have to worry that I might be out of town and can’t get a module, article or segment to a client. It’s done automatically. I won’t have to worry about scheduling, calling clients back at the end of the day or any scheduling conflicts. My scheduling will be done through the system, updated on my Outlook and the time slots will be updated regularly. Another piece of the puzzle I don’t have to worry about. Oh I’ll control the chunks of time and what will be available and what won’t be. But the systems in place will do all the work for me and I can now ‘play’.

What a concept!

The message I have for you would be, have you automated everything that’s automatable? Bill paying, website and domain name renewals, memberships on auto-renew…if you’re worried about keeping track, make a note in your Outlook for when the renewal should happen to watch for the email and charges that should be coming through. If you’re concerned about costs, just remember how much of a time eater these tasks are and ask yourself what is your time worth? If you’re a solo or businesspreneur time is money. If you’re wasting it doing things that technology can do for you, then you’re wasting time and money. Make sure you find someone amazing to work with so you’re confident the right technology is put in place and teaches you how to use it inside and out, or have someone in place who can do it for you and away you go!

I’ll let you know how it goes. And once it’s all in place, stay tuned for our newsletter, some new innovative products you’ll have access to and maybe, just maybe some of those products will give you the freedom of mental and time clutter for you to play too!

Donna Karlin

Sunday, March 18, 2007

To Learn You Must Know

People look at their worlds through the perspective of what they know. It’s obvious, right? What I love to see is when they discover what they didn’t know and then want to dive into the deep end of it and learn everything they can. That’s the best part of being a Shadow Coach; watching awareness as it dawns.

It happens to me on a regular basis. When I’m teaching seasoned experienced coaches and look at paradigms, concepts, ways of being and touch on something that had never occurred to them before, all of a sudden the energy in the room is tangible; enthusiasm so intense you can almost ‘taste’ it. Now what if leadership brought that to an organization? Not only would staff want to dive in with both feet, but they know instinctively that through every day they’d learn something that would shift their developmental level exponentially. Now what would one have to do to make that happen?

The first thought that comes to mind is to dialogue and often. Not meetings that drain everyone in the room of any energy they might have arrived with at the start of the day but a true brainstorming dialogue to create and listen to ideas and experiences they never heard or thought of before and to explore the possibilities.

What if, instead of regular meetings, there were creative sessions once a week or bi-weekly that brought out the best of every individual around the table, no matter role or responsibility? What if we went way beyond that? I started reading the book Wikinomics which talks about harnessing the knowledge, perspectives and insights of people from all over the world, not just within the boardroom. Could you imagine how powerful that would be?

Possibilities are endless. But what steps would you have to take to make that happen and then do something with the outcome? Ahh now that’s a whole other conversation for another time. It’s call paying attention to what unfolds.

Donna Karlin

*A few notes: As I'm constantly asked by coaches, students and businesspreneaurs alike what I use for my graphics work, my postcards, logos etc, not to mention the technology I use in my work, I updated my Coach Tools of the Trade site with all my recommendations. Go to Coach Tools of the Trade to check it out.

Secondly, stay tuned for an upcoming invitation to connect with people from all over the world through 'Perspectives'. Let's see in real time just how powerful it could be to bring people together from all over the world.

Lastly, now and then through my blog I'll be recommending books, websites, new software I've come across that might just meet a need or two of my clients and readers. One such discovery deals with memory improvement. I can't tell you how many times in a day I'm asked if I know any way to improve memory retention, especially when it comes to names! Check out this software. Memory Improvement Techniques It'll go a long way in helping you retrieve that information that seems to have gone poof into the night or the quiet recesses of your mind.

A great book that really packs a punch is Wikinomics. You'll never look at brainstorming and sharing knowledge in the same way again! And for a blogger who has subscribers from 99 countries and territories it makes a world of sense and yet still leaves me with a sense that even more is possible.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Realizing Potential

Leaders are alchemists of vision and potential --- i.e. potentialists. They’re also chess players and understand that all the pieces, or their people, move differently. Each individual leaves an impact all their own. True leaders discover what is unique about each individual, capitalize on it, and assign roles and tasks based on that uniqueness. The trick is not compromising these unique talents and strengths while at the same time creating and defining a vision and commonality that brings all the uniqueness together in order to move the organization and its people forward.

Budding leaders will take jobs based on people and leave their jobs because of people. They will be inspired by leadership or turned off by the lack of it. Ask yourself this “What if you could transform your organization by the very next act you undertake?” How would your leadership be transformed if you asked yourself that question on a regular basis? A benchmark of sorts.

Coaches are potentialists. We bring out the best in our clients based on their talents and strengths and, as a Shadow Coach™ what’s even more powerful is when I am able to make my clients aware of talents they hadn’t recognized before. We all have shadow personalities. Often we suppress them believing we need to demonstrate a specific fa├žade or way of being based on our roles and responsibilities. How much richer would our leadership be if we brought all facets of ourselves to the table, thereby speaking to the personalities of all those we work with, not just a select few?

Think for a moment.....what hidden talents do you have that you would love to explore more of but just don't have time to, don't think anyone would be interested in them, or think they're nothing unique and even if you could do 'it' it's nothing out of the ordinary so you don't even try?

People become who they might be when they let go of who they are. Don't try to box yourself in. Open the cover and let yourself go to fly wherever your passions want to take you. Once you're in alignment with your passions nothing will stop you. And if you're a leader and see a glimpse of this in someone in your organization, encourage them, inspire them and give them a safe place to let those passions and talents take flight.

Donna Karlin

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Owning Your Behavior

Many read books, articles, and stories in the newspaper and magazines and can always pick on someone else as an example a bully or an arrogant individual or an inconsiderate S.O.B. however if the article speaks of something amazing, all the examples seem to be about them, not someone else. They own those wonders and successes. They just won’t own any of what they consider negative aspects of behavior. It’s always someone else.

They’ll speak of these individuals as “they” or “you” or that “other person” or “I know someone who” but it’s never them who hurt or disregarded, abused, ignored or treated with no respect whatsoever. It’s always the other person or what that person assumed or thought… never the truth.

People are so intriguing. If you tell them about someone’s success, they’ll start telling you how they did it, thought of it, or invented it years before. When you tell them of someone who’s an amazing leader they start sharing their personal successes and yet when you share something about passive aggressive behavior, neediness, those who treat others with disregard, disrespect etc, they’ll point out numerous others who they know or heard of who demonstrate those behaviors but they won’t own, or equate themselves with or take responsibility for when they emulate those same behaviors. If they don’t own them, then they won’t have to do anything about them.

Just as fascinating is when they can’t understand why others won’t put up with them and their behavior any longer for it’s always someone else’s fault, their impressions, assumptions. It’s never them.

Why is that exactly?

Because if they do take ownership of inappropriate ways of being and not do anything about it, there will be no one to fault other than themselves. They can no longer place blame. They have to own blame.

Next time you find yourself saying something like “If you feel I did something hurtful then I’m sorry” or “I understand that you might think that and interpret it that way” you’re relinquishing all responsibility for your actions, words, ways of being and pretty much saying “I have no intention of doing anything about it so if you feel badly I’m sorry but nothing will change.”

Responding as such is indicative enough. If you want to be a part of a team, then pay attention to your behavior good and bad and own both, and if you’re in a personal relationship with someone who openly shares a hurt or a want and throw it back by saying something that minimizes it and shows you really don’t care enough to do anything about it, then you’ll be left by the wayside. Before you know it people will come and quickly go and leave you in a world of blamelessness and no responsibility of actions. You won’t need either if you have no one in your life other than you.

Tossing people away, well there are many ways to do that…through silence, indifference, and not taking responsibility for anything hurtful you do. It’s easy to give lip service to someone but what you do with your words and promises will be the proof of the pudding so to speak. Promising change in the workplace and not living up to it, allowing inappropriate behavior to continue will ensure a mass exodus of all the talent. Doing the same in your personal life will ensure you won’t have one at all.

Food for thought or even better, food for action!

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome 99th subscriber from Nicaragua! We hope you stay a while and share your thoughts and insights with us.