Archive for the ‘ Performance ’ Category

A Happier and Healthier You

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I am going to be open and honest – I don’t like New Year’s resolutions!

I do have goals each year, but I don’t get to January 1 and think up resolutions; there’s so much evidence they don’t work.

Forbes posted an article which drew upon the University of Scranton’s research which states that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. I have seen many articles listing an under 10% resolutions success rate. So why do so many of us make them?

Healthy Changes

I made a decision last year that in order to be more effective at work I needed to have a greater focus on my wellbeing which meant investing in my health, energy and productivity.

For too long I had been on the treadmill of sugary foods and caffeine hits to get me through the day. Rather than make me more efficient this sent me on a rollercoaster of insulin highs and lows.

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I didn’t start this at the beginning of the year only to give up after 2 weeks – I happened to start mid-year and read up on nutrition, exercise, and mind and body health. I then went about making small changes I could sustain and I am happy to report after about 6 months I have a lifestyle I can maintain and I am feeling so much better for it.

I am sure there are a lot of us out there that feel a career and family mean we have to opt for convenience. This just isn’t true.

What I Have Learnt

  • We are capable of so much more – There’s a great feeling when you are in control. You know what you are putting into your body and, through mental and physical exertion, what your body is capable of.
  • Don’t do ‘low fat’ – We are sold a lot of ‘food myths’ by retailers and manufacturers – ‘low fat’ regularly means high sugar and salt which retain body fat and make us feel bloated and sluggish.
  • Treat yourself to nature – A ‘treat’ should not be something sugary, a ‘treat’ should be a nourishing meal of natural foods that leave you feeling great and with the energy to be productive. Think about how eating that packet of crisps at 3pm really makes you feel.
  • Take a break – So many of us eat while working. It actually aids digestion and makes us more productive to take a break.
  • Brain Fuel – Water and exercise feed the brain. Staying hydrated helps our attention span (and it reduces ageing signs like wrinkles!!), as does stepping outside for fresh air and a little bit of sunshine (increasing our vitamin D levels).

Livestrong’s article ‘How Does Exercise Improve Work Productivity’ explains why exercise is so crucial for work performance,

‘When you exercise, you are also increasing blood flow to the brain, which can help sharpen your awareness and make you more ready to tackle your next big project. Exercise can also give you more energy. Having more energy means you will feel more awake at work. Being on top of your game will assure that you perform your work correctly and to the best of your ability.’

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Being healthy not only gives you a longer life to enjoy, but also improves brain function and makes us better at our jobs.

Give Your Routine a Healthy Overhaul

  • Prepare for your week in advance – I see so many of my colleagues buying pre-made lunches and breakfasts. There is a rainbow of vegetables and fruit out there that come without labels and the term ‘low fat’. A carrot does not need to say low in salt/sugar! I lead a busy life, but make the time for shopping for fresh produce and planning meals in advance. Believe me, you will feel the benefit.
  • Make time for food – I find it hard to eat away from my desk, but I do try to focus more on when and what I am eating; the taste, the smell and how the food makes me feel. So many of us suffer with poor digestion, make the time to chew food and give your stomach a chance to digest. Cooking can also be a family affair, get your spouse and children involved and make meal preparation fun.
  • Get some fresh air and/or move – I always feel more alive and productive after a run. This isn’t for everyone, but it’s important that we all ‘move’ for good health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that exercise can improve mental health, so pick a gym class you enjoy, a walk outside with friends or any activity that makes you feel alive. The key thing is to enjoy the movement and reap its rewards.
  • Ditch the labels – Try buying from the first couple of aisle of the supermarket. I see so many people with trolleys full of branded products, with barcodes and terms like ‘fat free’ or ‘low sugar’. See if you can make a meal with no barcodes, as the nutritionist Amelia Freer says don’t buy products with ‘tricks and promises to seduce you’.

Commit To Sustaining The Change

The key thing is to sustain whatever change you make.

To be a ‘healthier and happier you’ may take only one of these changes, keep these small and manageable.

A working mum or dad? Why prepare not commit to preparing your meals on a Sunday. Always rushing between meetings? Make a lunch that can be easily eaten and is easily digestible.

The most important thing is to look after yourself, no-one is going to do it for you and you will not believe the difference to your work day and home life if you just pay a little more attention to your own health and happiness.

Here’s some links for inspiration:

Madeleine Shaw’s top tips for fighting fatigue

Deliciously Ella’s advice for anyone who feels they can’t cook

Calgary Avansino’s blog – sharing a whole host of wellbeing guru’s secrets

I wish you all the best for 2016!

Top 5 Things People Don’t Know About Virtual Workers

The Leaders Guide to Mediocrity—Less Than a Million Ways to Maintain the Status Quo

“Proceed with caution in the direction of your hopes, and live safely, the life have.” —Hank Dave Locke

Mediocre is a good. Moderate quality is ok. “Average is the norm,” as Yogi Berra might say.

300x300Today’s world is complicated—every segment of society is continually changing and very little seems to be certain anymore, like it was two hundred years ago. No amount strategy, planning, or consulting can change this reality.

The great challenge for today’s leader at work, in sports, at home, or in academia, is to help everyone just hold on through the chaos and hope that things turn out for the good. We need to lower our expectations on what “greatness” really is. Our primary focus as leaders today is to maintain the status quo and not allow innovation, excellence, or a utopian idea of high-performance disrupt people from allowing people to get their job done the way they always have—for the most part.

The following are a host (who really counts how many points there are in articles like this anymore?) of ideas, or habits, or secrets, that will help leaders around the world avoid the stress caused by the quest for “higher levels” of performance and help maintain the status quo within your spheres of influence—if you have any.

Don’t Have a Vision

Visions are nothing more than “pie in the sky” dreams about the way things should be, not the way things really are. Having a vision for your organization only stresses people out and puts too high of expectations on them—expectations that are impossible to live up to in the end. And besides everybody forgets the vision after the town hall meeting anyway. So leaders need to save everyone the stress—don’t create a vision.

Don’t Set GoalsIMG_0517

Like vision, goals are a big stress in any area of life. People don’t need really need goals; it only sets you up for failure and disappointment. People come to work and know what they’re supposed to do and should be left alone to get it done—they don’t need a goal to tell them what they need to do. Without the stress of goals we don’t have to plan our week or take time every day to think about our activities we need to do. Without the burden of goals, people are free to just get straight to working—on something!

Don’t Give Feedback—And Never Ever Ask for Feedback

Feedback is just an illusion. It’s just someone else’s perception. By offering feedback you’re suggesting that something could be actually done a certain way—that’s pretty judgmental if you think about it. The reality is that everybody has their own way about going about doing things. By giving feedback to someone you’re know judging them, you’re insinuating that things could be done even better, and this is very disruptive to an organization—especially when you give feedback to someone that’s been leading people for 20 or more years. By asking for feedback you’re insinuating that someone knows how to do it better than you. That’s a no-no. You’ll look like a fool and people may begin to think that you don’t know how to do your job if you ask for feedback

Don’t Listen

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There’s only so much time in a day that you can sit around and listen to people’s complaints and problems. A leader that wants to maintain the
status quo and promote mediocrity, keep things flowing, should have no part of listening to somebody else’s challenges concerns or feedback. Time is of the
essence so don’t waste time listening to people’s concerns, and they’ll figure it out on their own—probably.

Don’t Solve Problems—Today

Like listening, problem-solving is another big waste of time. Problems exist, they always will, so what’s the point of trying to solve a problem when the reality is there will be 10 more, at least, that will spring up the next day. And if you really must try to solve a problem, sometimes you do, than the best strategy is to put it off until tomorrow. An average leader instinctively knows that today is all we have, and today’s troubles will take care of themselves; tomorrow.

Don’t Measure Performance

Yardstick-500x375Our society is beginning to understand this at a youth sports level—it’s time to understand this at a corporate level. If you hand out trophies and reward people for a “excellent” performance, what does that say to the rest of the organization? Measuring performance is just another way to discourage those who want to show up and work and just collect a paycheck. It’s another way to create distrust of the executives. Remember, your mission is to help your people survive, it’s not up to you to help them thrive—making the “scoreboard” irrelevant.

Feed Them Coffee and Donuts

This is a no brainer. Pavlov proved long ago that food, and now today, coffee, is a real good way to keep people satisfied. As long as people can come to work and know that donuts and coffee will be available, they will keep showing up. Sure it didn’t really work out with the orca whales at that Entertainment Park, but then again people aren’t really whales—food defiantly will satisfy humans. It’s not that complicated.

Which brings us full circle. Today’s leaders need to provide a safe environment with moderate expectations. The primary purpose of leadership is to help people survive and get through life in one piece—and enjoy the weekend. Leaders who follow these simple guiding principles will more than likely produce a culture of mediocrity and maintain a steady balance and certainty in an otherwise uncertain world.

Jason Diamond Arnold is a leadership consultant for The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is Coauthor of Situational Self Leadership in Action a real time, real work, leaning experience that develops effective communication and collaboration skills for individuals in the workplace. He works with Fortune 500 Companies, Small Business, and Start Ups developing Performance Intelligence strategies that are linked to research based, leadership development curriculums and cutting edge application software.

Top 3 Reasons Why Being a Great Leader Isn’t Easy

A few months back, I asked a group of leaders for a show of hands on who had experienced either oversupervision or undersupervision. Almost every hand went up. But then I asked how many had themselves oversupervised or undersupervised their direct reports. Only one or two hands shyly peeked out from the crowd.

So what’s going on? Well, leaders can sometimes be unaware of what they should and should not be doing. And this lack of awareness separates good leaders from great leaders. Great leaders know that leading is a never-ending journey that can be filled with treacherous obstacles.

So what do you need to know to become a great leader?
 
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Top 5 Office Pet Peeves (Leadership Quote)

Got Skills?

One summer afternoon, on the way to his favorite fishing hole, my grandfather took a short rest in the middle of a field behind house. He gazed upon his modest crop of corn that he had planted earlier in the spring as if he were Cortez, first looking upon the Pacific Ocean.

“You ain’t a man unless you own some land,” he spoke softly, as if it were a proclamation to the heavens, rather than an attempt to impart wisdom to his grandson.

Intellectual PropertyIntellectual Property

It wasn’t until recently when I heard a colleague and friend of mine, Dana Robinson, a professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law and author of several learning courses at lynda.com, talk about a new form of equity in our knowledge based economy—Intellectual Property.

“You probably know something about personal property. Your house or the things you probably have in your house. These are tangible things. That’s how we think of property in most cases, but what about intangible property? What about the things that are invisible that we want to consider property? We call those things “intellectual property.”

(See Dana Robinson’s course on Intellectual Property Law at lynda.com)

For generations, like my grandfather’s, land ownership was a significant and tangible asset to either provide or supplement a means to a living for much of the world. To this day, owning a home or physical property is still a valuable economic resource for individuals and families. But over the past quarter century, technology has pushed the light of the dawning knowledge revolution high into sky, dramatically shifting precious resources from the fertile fields of physical property, to the wellspring that reside in the minds of individuals throughout every level of today’s workforce—intellectual property.

40 years ago, the typical American company had about 20% of its assets in intellectual property or intangible assets. Today that number is more like 80%. Leveraging the 80% of today’s intangible assets within an organization is as great of a challenge as it is an opportunity for leaders and individuals.skills_cloud

Knowledge into Action

But intellectual property is not just about knowledge, it’s about how organizations and individuals leverage corporate and employee knowledge into action as a means to create revenue. If the acquisition of lynda.com by LinkedIn last week (LinkedIn to Buy lynda.com , NY Times) did not send sock waves through the business world last week from the sheer numbers, 1.5 Billion, than the fact that LinkedIn is preparing to transcend beyond the FaceBook of business and a real time resume resource, into becoming the leading provider of real time skills to polish up your LinkedIn profile, than you’re not paying attention to how the world of business is changing.

Gone are the days when executive leaders can simply make a decision and pass it down the chain of command for implementation. Gone are the days where you punch a clock, push some buttons, pull some levers and the company generates revenue like a well-oiled machine. And even perhaps more importantly, gone are the days when we hire and retain employees based solely on where they received their degree, or the level they attainted at a university, or the years of experience they have in the workplace—but rather how they can turn their theoretical knowledge from the halls of academia or years of experience into action through demonstrated real time skills that cultivate tangible assets for today’s knowledge economy.

Skills are the New Currency

In today’s highly technical job market, skills are quickly becoming the new currency for new hire selection and on the job performance. Mastery of job skills is more critical to personal and organizational success than degrees and certificates. The right set skills matched to the right job function is the difference between excellence and mediocrity in today’s workforce. Skills are the new currency of today’s workforce.

Perhaps while on the way to the local fishing hole this summer, I’ll take a rest with my son, pull out my iPhone, and open up my LinkedIn profile and look toward the sky’s and proclaim, “You can’t pay the bills unless you got the skills,” as he shakes his head at me with displeasure.

Jason Diamond Arnold is a Leadership Consultant for The Ken Blanchard Companies and Cofounder of DiamondHawk Leadership & Media. He is Coauthor of Situational Self Leadership in Action, a powerful learning experience designed to help individual contributors to excel at work and in their career through critical leadership and business skills. 

 

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