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Make the New Year Matter.
Have you made 2014 resolutions?
We all know it’s challenging to stick to your New Year’s resolutions (I’m pretty sure most are broken in week 1), even if you know they are good for you. January at Talent Formula is all about setting intentions to kick off 2014 and give you, our readers, tips to set your own that stick.
Grace Lanuza kicked off the theme prompting our readers that instead of making resolutions, why not make it a total life style change – read it here. My technique: I don’t create new resolutions, but stick with the same 3 themes that challenge me, I can always get better at, and never go out of style.
My 3 Themes:
1. Hear What People Are Really Saying
Are you a good listener? Or are you already in the process of framing up your response before someone has finished their sentence?
I continue to challenge myself to practice “active listening.” Truly paying attention to what someone is really saying, being open to receive their point of view, and putting myself in their shoes. Not an easy task, I need to avoid being distracted and verify that what I’m hearing is actually what is being said.
There is a lot of information available on active listening, techniques on how to encourage people to tell their story or provide the information you need. Reading about it is one thing though – practicing it takes daily focus.
Why It Matters:
Active listening is a building block to create strong connections and relationships. I am sure you remember those discussions where you really felt you were understood and others where you weren’t sure anything was heard at all. How do you want people to feel after speaking with you?
It’s important to remember that active listening is not the same as agreeing; it’s about understanding someone else’s perception and the impact to them.
2. Actively Look For Feedback
I firmly believe there is always room for improvement!
Continuing to look for ways to do things faster, better, cheaper etc… is a way to challenge myself. No matter how often I have run a program, done the presentation, entered the data, or completed the booking, I try to find a way to make a positive difference and grow.
One of my methods to improve is to actively ask for feedback. Feedback can be tough – you need to be prepared to hear the good, but also the not so good or the downright ugly and…you probably need to own it.
Why It Matters:
In order to receive feedback that will help you grow and learn you need to put yourself in a vulnerable situation, really listen and identify your improvement opportunities.
You need to allow your critics to give you open and honest feedback and re-enforce that you really want to listen and learn. Be prepared for this because a surefire way to discourage open feedback is becoming defensive in a feedback session.
One of my favorite feedback mechanisms is the “work-with”. I will invite someone to join me in a meeting or a presentation with the sole purpose of providing feedback after the session. It allows people to see me “in action” and be prepared to provide feedback after. Always learning is my motto!
3. Purposely Make Time For Others
Having an “open door policy” is important, but how much does this mean if your door is open but you are never in?
It’s challenging in this fast paced world to balance the meetings, commitments and deliverables and be available when others need you. But it’s not just about the difficult times and discussions. It’s about knowing what goes on in other people’s life, walking over to someone’s office instead of sending that quick email, or helping out a colleague so everyone can leave on time.
Why It Matters:
Making time for others is a personal choice but for me has been key to building relationships and engaging and motivating team members.
As much as I like to think that I am pretty in tune with what’s going on, I have built some tools that help me “be there”. I use my outlook calendar to put in reminders for special events and birthdays, I keep a collection of post cards for special occasions (it’s still so wonderful to see the power of an actual card) and I will cancel a meeting (or send a delegate) if an important talk should not be stopped halfway or postponed.
Your 2014 Plan:
Please share your resolutions or growth themes with me here. Make them real. Consider why those themes matter to you. What tips can you build into your life to make these habits versus resolutions that fall by the wayside?