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5 Year End Questions Every Manager Should Be Asking About Their People; Their Organizations and Themselves

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

As we near the end of the year (and more importantly, as we get closer to kicking-off a new one), it is important to reflect on what we’ve done over this past year.  Here are some questions for you to ponder on this holiday season.

thinking_kidOrganizational Questions

  1. What goals did my organization accomplish this past year? And how did we get there?
  2. What goals did we not accomplish? And what were the obstacles preventing us from getting there?
  3. Are there any goals not achieved which should be carried over into next year? What will we do differently?
  4. How did I do against my budget? Where did I fall short, and where did I overachieve?  Why?
  5. Was my organization aligned to best meet the vision and goals we had set-up? Do I still have the right organizational model?

People Questions

  1. Who were the top performers? And why were they so successful? Did we recognize their efforts throughout the year?
  2. How would I characterize team morale from beginning of year to now?  Is there anything we should have done differently?
  3. Did people in my organization develop and grow this past year?  What skills or opportunities did they get?
  4. Why do people like to work for this company, organization, and me?  Why do they think about leaving?
  5. Do I have the right people (i.e. skills, drive, passion) to grow to the next level?  If not, how do I resolve that?

Self-Development Questions

  1. What did I accomplish this year? And how did I do that?
  2. What did I not accomplish this past year and why?  Do I want to make these goals for next year?
  3. Was I clear in my priorities and objectives this past year and how often did I change direction?
  4. What could I have done better as a manager?
  5. Did I develop and grow myself personally?  In what ways?

Taking the time to think about the past will not only better open your eyes to your successes & shortcomings, but it will also serve as a good guide as you think about the upcoming year.

It’s Not Just About the Fixing The Weakness – Exploit Your Strengths

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Whenever I ask someone about their goals, or ask a manager about what’s their current focus, I usually get a diatribe of all the things they’re doing to get themselves fixed.  After five minutes of listening, I can tell everything that’s wrong with them and their group.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but they’re missing a great opportunity to apply some focus on excelling at what they do best!Close up of man's arm

A recent post by Michael Hyatt (Are You Focusing on the Obstacle or the Opportunity?) inspired me to write this post.  The key message in his blog is that people often focus only on what’s wrong (or what they need to fix), versus what they can create or how they can leverage their strengths.

Whether you are creating goals for yourself; your organization; or talking through a development plan with one of your employees – it’s just as important to know what you do well, as much as it’s important to know your weaknesses.  From there, it’s a matter of doing more of what you do best and protecting yourself from your blind spots (aka – killing your snakes). Read more…

The Why’s and How’s of Mentorship

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I was asked the other day if I had some thoughts behind setting up a mentor/mentee relationship.  What a great question!!!  While I don’t have the “Manifesto” for Mentorship I do have a few thoughts around the topic that I thought would be worth putting in this blog.

I’ve always loved the idea of having (and being a mentor).  When done right, both experiences can be rewarding.

What’s The Value of Having a Mentor?

Having a teacher (aka – mentor) to help guide and push you is a remarkable way to increase the speed and quality of your learning journey.    You typically look for mentors because they know something that you don’t, or you can gain wisdom that you don’t get in any course or book.  Mentors can be great sounding boards and motivators.  And depending on mentor/mentee relationship, they can (and should) hold you accountable for reaching your goals and objectives. Read more…

5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Workday

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you ever had a day you felt just got away from you? Here are some tips to help you get the most from your workday. They may not all work for you, but I’ve always found when I keep these principles in mind, I seem to get more done. clock

  1. Attack your day with purpose – When you first sit down and look at your To Do List, mark three things you must accomplish for the day, then tackle those first.
  2. Start your morning on the right foot – STOP! Don’t check your email first. Get something done! Make it a habit to knocks-off at least one or two To Do items before you check your email. When you check email, it can be easy to get your day derailed by someone else’s urgent items.
  3. Minimize impromptu interruptions – With instant messaging, cell phones, email pop-ups and friendly office neighbors, it’s easy to get interrupted from your work. When you need to focus on a project or a chunk of work, schedule a meeting with yourself. And when colleague interrupts you, say, “I’m in the middle of something, but I can spare a couple of minutes. What can I do for you?” This will more than likely keep the interruption to a minimum, and they may even think twice to interrupt again if it’s not important.
  4. Don’t “over-check” your email – How many times do you stop what you are doing to check or respond to email? Checking email constantly can derail your work rhythm and make you less efficient. Find two to three times a day to check and respond to email. Then when checking email, focus on what action item(s) you need to take. If it is a quick response, then respond. If it requires you to take action or a longer response, then put that on your To Do List to tackle when you have more time.
  5. Finish Strong – At then end of each day, assess whether you met your goals for the day and completed the necessary tasks, then update your To Do List and plan for your tomorrow. Not only will you feel like you accomplished more for the day, but you will feel like you are ready for the next day as you are leaving your office.

There is no greater satisfaction than leaving the office knowing you got your most important tasks completed (or at least moved forward) and feeling prepared for the next day.

QUESTION: What do you do to make sure you get the most from your work day?