Need for Perfection Leads to Drama

May 25, 2010

Question: My time management is pathetic. I need some help prioritizing and fitting in important things like exercise and a healthy diet. I expect perfection and have a hard time with expectations.

Answer: I love this question because it truly is an energy issue. All drama has three components in common and one of those components is energetic. I call this energetic charge, RESISTANCE.

One of the ways resistance shows up is in self judgment. Let’s address the self judgment. The need to be perfect is a resistance to our humanity. As a human you will always find imperfections.  When we expect to be perfect we will always fail. Perfection is an empty black hole that is easy to fall in to. So I try to encourage my consulting clients to seek excellence because excellence allows room to grow while perfection is a myth that some day I will have all the answers. This is a big trap that will always have you grasping for something you will never achieve. So there is a bit more flexibility with excellence.

Perfection is all about needing approval and being right. 

There is also some resistance around the issue of time and how we use time, and the myth that technology is going to save you time.  Now let’s look at the myths about technology. One myth is that more advances in technology gives us more time. The reality is it only gives us more choices. Our expectations change to fill up the time. This is very difficult for most of us to accept. We reject the notion that you can never really save time. Time just is. You can be more effective. You can choose differently. You can even master your energy differently but you will never really save time because the expectation changes with the technology. What is called for here is mastering energy.

Energy management is the key issue here. This is a matter of making a decision and sticking to it. Simply spending some quiet time and giving yourself a week to exercise three times for 1 hour would be a nice start. It’s really just a discipline and the willingness to slow down in your thinking just a bit.

Once you follow through your self-esteem and overall sense of well being will increase. This extra energy is what will make you more efficient, not working past your limits, skipping meals and feeling bad about yourself.

In addition, remember that if you don’t give your body what it needs, it will eventually take the down time in the form of an illness or accident. In other words, you can’t fool mother nature.  We always reap the consequences of our choices, even when we fail to choose, it does not keep us from the effect.

Ready to release resistance? Join me  for the upcoming virtual training!


Meetings and Feedback Improve Accountability

May 4, 2010

Question: I have a manager, who is very nice, but just does not follow through with the important stuff? I have been reading motivational books, but it has not helped. What should I do?

Answer: There are two things I recommend for this one.

1. Regular meetings with accountability built into the agenda

2. Feedback using the 1-10 scale system

You will hear me say this over and over. I recommend regular staff meetings with a solid agenda. They can be as short as 15 to 30 minutes. Very few companies do this because they have bought in to the idea that meetings waste time. The only reason meetings waste time is because of poor planning and facilitation skills and a lack of vision.

Have an agenda so it stays on track. One of the things in your agenda is an accountability section to where they MUST report back to the whole group as to their progress. (She will not like coming up short every time in front of others.)

AUTHENTIC CONVERSATION using the scale system
Aside from that you simply must schedule an authentic conversation with her so that she knows how you see her. Start operating with your peeps, with the “scale” method. Before any project, let your people know that besides the formal yearly review (if you do them) you will give continuous feedback that will sound like this, “Jane, on a scale of 1-10, this was an 8. The 2 suggestions or areas for improvement are…” 

In other words, your score must always equal 10. If their performance is a 7, you need to give a good example of the three things they can do to bring it up.

Then when they get it to 10, be sure to acknowledge. This helps set people up for success and gives them a good idea of what the expectations are.

Stop the “I’m Too Busy” Excuse

April 20, 2010

QUESTION: A frequently heard response from coworkers on why work has not been completed:  “I’m too busy” or “I’m so busy”, many times followed with a dramatic recital of all they have to do. How should I respond? 

ANSWER: Well, the sarcastic approach is to say, “Well, you certainly have an extra five minutes for excuse-making.” (Of course, I don’t recommend the sarcastic approach except in your fantasies.)

In the time that they spend arguing about how much time they DON’T have, they could have already completed the task you asked them to complete!

A good come back is, “What if you weren’t so busy?” Then hold the space, then wait for more excuses, then ask, “Are you willing to find a way?”

There are three circumstances worth looking at: A celebration system may be in order,  they really may be too busy, they may need a little peer pressure. Let’s look at each scenario.

A celebration system is in order
Employees need a time when they feel complete. Sometimes what we do as managers is just keep piling things on them and they always feel behind. This is a management skill of delegating but also what I call “celebrating on the island.” If work is nothing more than a list of tasks it’s going to be hard to keep the motivation. If however there is a time for intermittent celebrations of what we accomplished, then you are going to get a lot more compliance. 

They really are too busy
I recently heard Nick Fabrizio, a consultant with MGMA Healthcare consulting group, say that you cannot give more than 10 percent more work without increasing resources or reducing work in some other area. In other words, make sure what you are requesting is actually possible given their current workload and responsibilities.

Use peer pressure
At your regular meetings, give acknowledgement for all the tasks accomplished and milestones reached. This will feel so good that people will be more willing to step up instead of make excuses. What this will require of you though is to keep note and a log of what gets done.