Monday, May 24, 2010

Bad Day? It'll all be okay.

Was talking with Bernice in our office today and we had a good giggle (as we often do) about how several people in our world were upset that things were not going their way or that they were having a bad day. In our moment of quick conversation and giggles, we both came to admission that in fact, for us and all those other folks who were having a rough day, it would all be okay and that all the other bad days we had had were okay, too. Besides, if you hadn't been able to handle a bad day before you would no longer be around and the reality is that good things pass quickly, just as quickly as bad things, in fact. If there was something you couldn't handle, you'd be dead and the reality is that we can handle just about anything that doesn't kill us. Make sense?

If you're having a bad day - know that it is, and will be, all okay. :)
Stay contagious!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What Does Leadership Take? Reminding yourself that the learning you've done so far didn't happen over night and new learning won't either.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Leading in Times Like These

What is the difference between good times and these times?

There are a couple of things, but the key question is do you lead differently during tough times than you lead during great times? The short answer is "no", but there's more.

When I have led teams through muliple mergers, budget crunches and hiring freezes, the stress gets high and the emotions run wild, but the reality is that those you lead are still looking to you for leadership, guidance, motivation and understanding.

Keep in mind leadership doesn't mean you doing all the work, it means you are developing those you have the privilege of leading.Tough times are not an excuse to stop leading or to stop leading well, they are merely a reason for you to improve your skills that much more and keep on truckin'. (er, I mean leading) That may also mean that what becomes most important in "tough times" is your skill level, your persistance, your ability to avoid taking stressed out reactions personally, and your drive to push through it until the "times" improve.

Stay Contagious!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leaders: When Times are Tough

Leaders: When Times are Tough use your skills and make some TRADES. We are not talking about stock market trading, or trading your values for something else, we are talking about what TRADE stands for. Contagious Leaders TRADE when times are good and especially when times are tough. Take a look:

1. Take things professionally, not personally
Not everything is a personal affront and when times get tough, we tend to be a bit more sensitive to taking things personally from others. Look at someone's stressful reaction, consider your own stress level and then consciously make a decision about how you are going to react. Taking things personally is a reaction, not a conscious decision. Leaders make conscious decision.

2. Remember the power of your words
What you say carries more weight than you might think and a few of the words that carry the most weight are: but, however, and why. But and However tend to negate all the words that come before them. Think of "I love you, but... ". How does that sound? Why, on the other hand, is one of the most defensive mood creating words you could use. Try instead saying things like "help me understand" or "can you share some of your reasoning with me" are better at getting the information you seek. Why will bring you a reaction that gives the recipient a reason to think you are questioning their judgment.

3. Act as if “You’re cool!”
In our Contagious Conferences we use a phrase that helps you remember you are good enough and worth it. That phrase is: "I'm cool!" and you are! And if you don't believe it right now, try believing it just for now and see if you can make it stick. Sometimes acting as if will help to propel the real emotion. Next step is to stand in front of a mirror and say "I'm Cool!" to yourself. You will, if nothing else, laugh your way into a better mood. :)

4. Don’t let stress strangle your talent
Stress creates reactions that you don't need and stress is all perceived. We see something and we think it is stressful and then feel the affects of stress. Let me repeat, we see, THINK, and then feel. One does not feel stress and then decide why you feel that way. So, change the way you think about things and the stress will dissipate. yes, it really is that simple.

5. Escape need for balance
I wrote an article for Orlando Woman Newspaper not long ago, about balance. I assigned the concept of balance to a scale and unless you are one, it flat out does not apply. Balance is an unrealistic concept as you will always be off balance in how you spend your energies, your time, and your efforts. Now, as Dan Thurmon says, there is a big difference between being off - balance, and OUT OF BALANCE. Either, stop looking for balance and seek fulfillment.

Contagious Leaders develop the skills to do the above actions in a way that looks instinctive or natural, but the truth is we all can develop these skills and your work in this direction could begin... well... now.

Stay contagious!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Delegation and Follow Through

In our Monday Moment on April 13... we discussed the concept of delegation.
Here is what delegation normally sounds like...
"giving to others all that junk that we normally don't like to do." Yuck!

Instead, here is what delegation REALLY is...
"giving others an opportunity to learn a skill that they did not already have."

If you approach the concept of delegation in this second manner, you are far more likely to see the things you delegate getting done when you want them to, in the manner that you've asked, and on time.

To further secure those things that you delegate, try these steps:
1. give as many details as possible
2. share your specific expectations as to the final outcome (assume nothing!)
3. provide a reasonable deadline for completion
4. make one or two (at most) follow up calls, visits, or emails depending on distance from deadline, to ensure project or task progress
5. Reassure person that you are available for questions along the way

Stay Contagious and Happy Delegating!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Seth Godin's view of Leadership

Am reading the new book by Seth Godin - Tribes - WOW - well worth the read.

He actually talks about you being able to be a leader of anything about which you have passion. He also goes on to say that with the new tools available in social media, you can be a leader of a tribe that is equally passionate about your specialty, hobby, product or service. Are you leading a tribe? Are you aware of all the tribes out there?

Now, what are the tools to find your tribe? Well, there are many:
Squidoo (founded by Seth Godin)
Linked In
and many more...

And finally, Mr. Godin describes the difference between management and leadership...
"Management is about manipulating resources to get a known job done.
Leadership, on the other hand, is about creating changes that you believe in."

My hats off to you Seth Godin.. sounds like a description much like the one we use in Contagious Leadership.. thank you for being a great leader!
Stay Contagious,

Monday, March 30, 2009

Do you need someone who thinks "Out of the box?"

The March issue of Harvard Business Review made me laugh!
Leaders often look for employees who utilize out of the box thinking and when you apply that concept to this cartoon - it's good for a great chuckle.

Are you a Contagious Leader who is looking for a unique,
out of the box thinker? Are you hiring for attitude and
teaching skill or are you looking at skills, hoping to change and instill a great attitude. Let me recommend the first as a better

Determine whether you need a follower on the team who
will stay in the box, follow directions, and fulfill the needs you outline OR if you need a leader who will toss out the box, make a new one, reshape it, or build a better mousetrap.

Oh, and as a cat owner, the whole out of the box thing... totally different connotation. Made the laughs even better. Have a contagious... out of the box... kind of day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Leadership Training - Art Form?

The Harvard Business Review this month listed Leadership Training as more of an art than a science. What are your thoughts?

It does seem that leadership training and the act of leadership, contagious or otherwise, is an an art form. In fact, Max Dupree wrote The Art of Leadership some time ago. Yet there are also specific skills that can be scientifically developed and trained and that go beyond the "gray area" soemtimes seen in an art form.

There is the science behind learning how to communicate with others. There is the science of learning how to appropriate recognize and how to discipline, as well as coach. And of course, there is also the science, if you will, of learning how to maintain your sense of humor, even when things get stressful.

Maybe leadership is an art, but when we make it all about an art, it leaves far too much to the imagination and less to responsibility for learning the process and the skills that are also required.

Best of success of your Contagious Leadership journey!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Leaders Learning What Sells: Spirituality has trumped Sex

Contagious Leaders Look Out! Beware in boardrooms everywhere and pay attention to the new marketing and sales buzz. In the coming years, your ad plans may change and the way you "sell" your ideas may change as well.

Leaders, whether of a business, an industry, or even the voices in your head...ha!... often want to know how to sell an idea or product. Selling is a primary revenue driver and there's new news on the horizon. In the ad and media world, sex has been trumped as the primary sales vehicle by... spirituality.

Now, let's be clear - selling sex can be a dicey topic, but it comes out in things like image, the models you choose for an ad, and person you send in to close the deal for your next big client. It isn't all tawdry and for years it has been the reality of what "sells" stuff the most. Studies are now showing and experts are clear that spirituality has more selling power.

Check out these resources to see how "getting more out of life" and "finding your purpose", as well as "feeling fulfilled" via religion or other spiritual sources is becoming a major selling point:

There are many ways one could look at the shift, but a key question that this change in trends brings about is how are you selling your ideas to those you lead and those you serve. Contagious Leaders already focus on the people they lead, but now maybe it's time to incorporate more focus how those people feel. Are they connected, feeling fulfilled, and clear on their purpose?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Have you Heard: "I'm Not Participating in the Recession... "

Have you heard people saying "I know there is a recession out there, but I am choosing not to participate."? It seems to be the fluffy mantra of the times. In fact, I heard it again this morning and it seems to be that the ones saying it the most, are my fellow speakers.

I've even said it a time or two and though the essence of the statement, when I said it, was true, there is more to the story and Contagious Leaders know that. Here is the rest of the story...

There is a recession going on. Period. That is our reality and for many it is really, really, challenging heart breaking, and difficult. Those of us in the "positive, empowerment" or even "motivational speaking" industries need to know this and many of do. BUT, the difference is recognizing reality DOES NOT require getting sucked into the vortex of fear. In the face of fear and ambiguity, many people freeze. They don't know which end is up or where to go or what to do. That is an even scarier reality. When times are challenging and difficult is when you as the leader of your life, have to be even more diligent in making good decisions, taking good action, and consistently working toward a solution. Freezing provides no solutions and no feedback.

So, if you have heard and/or are saying "I choose not to participate in the recession." that's great, but here's a news flash, you're in it. Now you get to choose whether or not you going to appear dangerously naive or whether you are going to face your fear and do what you need to do anyway. Contagious Leaders choose to participate in reality, while looking fear dead in the eye and saying "Thanks for sharing, but I've got work to do!"

Stay Contagious!

How Can You Bring Monica Wofford into Your Organization?

Monica Wofford, CSP, is the CEO of Contagious Companies.

She is also an international speaker, trainer, author and coach. Having written Contagious Leadership and trained organizations and companies such as Estee Lauder, Hallmark and the FAA, the US Mint and The City of New York, Monica is a skilled facilitator who helps you develop employees who stay longer, produce more and complain less. For more information, contact our Contagious Companies office at 1-866-382-0121.