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Bad Boss Success Story

One of my clients recently had an incredible success…I’m going to share it with you (with his permission, and some of the details have been changed to protect privacy!)

My client, let’s call him John, works at a high-profile charitable organization.  It’s a very prestigious and somewhat high-pressure place to work, but worth it!

Except…When John starting having issues with a new boss, Bob.  Bob was controlling, demanding, irrational, and incompetent.  He was verbally and emotionally abusive, especially when he recognized he “didn’t know” what to do or the answer to problems.

Things were going in a very bad direction for John.  The direction that has all the indicators of the build up to getting fired.  Being required to account for every moment of his time.  Being blamed for things that were not his fault but having no opportunity to explain himself.  Being sidelined and outcast.

Things were complicated by John’s own self concept.  “Maybe Bob is right…Maybe I am slow and not good enough to work at a place like this.”  “Maybe I am a bad communicator.”  “Maybe it is all my fault.”

Thankfully, logic, and a little coaching, helped John see that it wasn’t all his fault.  There was objective evidence that he was performing his duties as he was supposed to.  There were objective things that Bob that were doing that reached the level of abuse.

It was still an agonizing decision, though.  What could be done about this situation?  This was a very prestigious job and John didn’t want to lose it.  John came to a crucial decision that was core to his success.  He’d rather work somewhere else than put up with this treatment.

Once he accepted that, and all of the ramifications of that, he was fully empowered.

Fully knowing that it may lead to his swift firing, John scheduled a meeting with Bob’s boss.  He brought objective written evidence of Bob’s behavior.  He made it clear that there needed to be an immediate cessation of the abusive behavior or John would leave the organization.  John gave Bob’s superior two weeks to come up with a solution.

(Now, for anyone reading this that is in a similar situation…I know there are many of you.  The caveat here is an action like this may very well lead to the end of your time at this job.  You must be ok with that as a possible outcome.  If that does happen, you’ll most likely soon come to see it was for the best in any case.  It is never a good long-term plan to let yourself get abused.)

Back to John.  It’s almost like a miracle happened.  Bob’s boss spoke to everyone in the department, everyone that was too afraid to speak out, and learned the truth about Bob’s behavior.  Everyone confirmed exactly the same experiences that John was having.  The truth was known.

The organization immediately started to work with Bob to improve his management skills and make it clear to him what behavior and language will not be tolerated.

Things were immediately better for John.  It was made clear to him that he was highly valued, and there certainly were no plans to fire him.  John feels secure in his job and he’s even taking on some new projects that he really loves and excels at.  And, he is being supported, not sabotaged.  John is back to LOVING his job.

John’s boss, Bob, has shown REAL change.  He interacts with John, the rest of the department, and his peers, in a fair and professional manner.  He seems to be really “getting” how a great manager can be.  And, you know what, Bob has even become a happier and more balanced person himself.

The whole department is happier and healthier.  All because one person was willing to honor themselves and no longer put up with abuse, no matter what the cost.  One person was willing to tell the truth, and let things evolve from there.

Good things always evolve from truth and doing what is right.  It may not always go as “smoothly” as it did for John, but it is always the right thing for all concerned.  In this case, the great outcome is a perfect reflection of the courage it took for John to speak the truth and be willing to let whatever happened happen.

Personal Success and Leadership Workshop

I learned of a very practical, yet high level, personal success and leadership workshop.  It includes excellent career exploration aspects.

You can take it in a self-directed fashion, or, you can conduct the workshop for others.

It was originally designed, by Robert White of www.pslinstitute.com, for teens…However it can be great for adults as well!

A super resource…

Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs
August 31, 2011
0

Steve Jobs delivered this commencement address at Stanford, June 12, 2005.  It is definitely worth a read and serious reflection.

“You’ve got to find what you love.”

I couldn’t agree more!

Rejuvenate Your Career Goals

A well-known study of Harvard students ten years after graduation showed that those who had specific goals made three times the annual salary of average Harvard graduates. However, this number was increased exponentially by those graduates who had taken an extra step. The graduates who had specific written goals made ten times the average amount in annual salary! Although money is definitely not the sole measure of success, this study illustrates the power of planning, focus and direction.

Take a few minutes to consider the following questions.

  • How viable is your position to the success of your organization?
  • Is your industry/field expanding and experiencing increased demand in today’s market?
  • Is your job currently meeting your needs for meaningful and challenging work?
  • Are you given sufficient opportunities for advancement and professional growth?
  • Is your current work allowing enough time for family, relationship and lifestyle needs?
  • Are you receiving compensation and benefits appropriate to your financial goals?
  • Generally, are your relationships with your boss/co-workers/clients/customers positive?

If fewer than 6 of your answers were positive it is time to re-evaluate your career, develop goals, and create specific plans to meet those goals.

I Just Got Fired! Now What?

If you are an employee, one of the things that is most likely going to happen to you at some point in your career is that you will unexpectedly lose your job.  In the fast changing job market, there are mergers, acquisitions, reduction in force programs, and internal politics that often lead to unexpected things happening.  So, what do you do when you are let go from your position unexpectedly? 

Understand Your Benefits Package

Usually when you are let go from your job, your company will provide some type of exit package.  Many times this includes a continuation of salary and benefits for a period of time.  Sometimes outplacement services are provided as well.  Whatever it may be, make sure that you fully understand what you are entitled to.

Make sure that you also understand how to apply for any unemployment benefits that you may be entitled to.

Don’t Panic

Why a sudden job loss can be traumatic, the worst thing to do is panic!  Feeding your fears can cause you to make poor decisions that can affect your career, as well as your future.  Take some time to catch your breath and digest what happened before you make your next move.  Oftentimes, losing a job is the best thing that can happen to you in the long run, as it provides you the opportunity to choose a new path.

Have A Plan

Before taking on a job search, it’s a good idea to put together a plan of attack.  Unless you are certain of what you want to do, you may want to consider working with a professional to assist you with your job search, updating your resume, or exploring what it is that you want to do when you grow up.  Outplacement services can be a good option, as well as a good career coach.  While money is definitely a concern here, this can be the best investment you make!  A good career coach can assist you in understanding your skills and talents, helping you figure out the best career move for yourself, as well as assist you in marketing yourself and your overall job search.  A small investment here can lead to a big return!

Put Yourself First

Any career transition can be stressful.  A forced one can be extremely stressful, so it’s really important that you take care of yourself during this transition.  Eating right, working out, and surrounding yourself with supportive people is a great way to help yourself stay positive during this stressful time.

By following these simple steps, you will start you job search off on the right foot, and be on your way to a successful career transition!

The Fallacy of Work-Life Balance
May 17, 2011
5

Do you find yourself being challenged to find a healthy balance between your career and life outside of work?  The term work-life balance first appeared in 1986 in the US in response to the increasing demands of work and career and their effects on ones’ lifestyle outside of work.  Many companies, as well as employees, have struggled with this concept since that point.  There have been endless corporate programs, training sessions, and efforts to try and obtain an effective balance between work and life outside of work.  Is the term work-life balance something that you should really be striving for, or is it a complete fallacy?

The term work-life balance is really misleading at best.  Balance is defined as “a state of bodily equilibrium”.  So, the term itself assumes that your work and life outside of work should be in complete equilibrium.  While this seems like something to strive for, do you really want to have complete balance between your work and your life outside of work?  What does that even mean?  By defining this as your goal, are you setting yourself up to chase after something that is not only impossible, but perhaps not even desirable?

Perhaps a better way to define work-life balance would be to slightly shift your goal to one of work-life integration.  Integration is defined as “behavior, as of an individual, that is in harmony with the environment”.  By shifting your focus to integration instead of balance, it sets you free from chasing after the impossible equilibrium of your work and life, and allows you to determine how to create an environment that is in harmony with your overall life goals.  Which one sounds more empowering to you?

Successful Goal Setting

As a life and executive coach I do a lot of work with people around their goals. Setting goals puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you the power to transform your life or take a company to another level. Successfully setting and executing goals is not rocket science but there is a tried and true way that works for my clients and me. Sticking to this program guarantees success. It doesn’t matter whether your goals are personal or they are used to direct a large enterprise, the steps and the pitfalls are identical. I’ll take you through a quick tour. If you like, you can identify a goal of yours and do a test run of the system.

The steps to executing goals are simple, unambiguous and easy to follow and should be practiced every day. Skipping one step increases the odds that you won’t realize your goal.

The first step to goal setting is to have absolute belief and faith in the process. If you don’t believe you can absolutely transform your life and get what you want, then you might as well put down your pencil and do something else. If you are in doubt, look around you. Everything you can see began as a thought. If you identify something you really want, you can make it happen if want it badly enough.

Visualize what you want. Think of what you deeply desire in your life or where you want your company to be a year from now. What has to change for that to happen? What transformations need to take place? What do you need to know or learn? What spiritual, emotional, personal, financial, social or physical properties need to be addressed? The clearer you can get with each of these dimensions, brings your vision into sharp focus. The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to focus on making it happen. Write down as many things as you can think about. Not being absolutely clear about your vision will make taking action very difficult.

Get it down! Writing down your goals is key to success. A 1953 Yale study followed 100 students to see how they ended up. Only 3% had written goals. Ten years later, this 3% was happier, more satisfied and had reached the goals they had set out to achieve. More importantly, the net worth of that 3% was greater than the rest of the 97% combined. By writing down your goals, you become a creator. Failure to write down your goals often means you will forget them or won’t focus on them, most likely like that other 97%.

If you have multiple goals, you may need to chunk elements of your vision into individual goals. Having a list of twenty or thirty objectives can be hard to keep track of and even more difficult to focus on. Chunking involves grouping “like” items together. For instance let’s say you have goals around taking your business to the next level. You might chunk your goals into financial, marketing, organizational and so on. It’s easier to focus on a few goals than a list of 20-odd items. Failure to chunk results in failure to focus and loss of direction.

The next step is to identify a purpose for each goal. Knowing why you want to achieve your goals is powerful. Identifying the purpose of your goal will help you instantly recognize why you want that particular goal and whether it’s worth working toward.. Knowing why you want something furnishes motivation to see it through to the finish. After all, if the purpose of earning a million dollars is to put it in the bank to save for a rainy day, you probably won’t be as motivated as if you need it to pay for your child’s cancer treatment. Your purpose says a lot about you as a person and your goals.

The next step of goal setting is to commit to your goals. This might sound obvious to you but it’s a step that has huge consequences when it is taken lightly. Write a few pages about why and how you are committing to each goal; why it’s important to you, what it means to you, why the outcome is necessary and what are you going to do to make it happen. Without strong commitment you aren’t likely to follow through.

Stay focused. By staying focused on your goals, you manifest. You may not know how you’ll reach your goals but when you make a daily practice of focusing on your goals, they become easier to reach. The more you focus, the more people and things will come into your life that help make your goals a reality. Having your goals written down somewhere where you will see them each day is a good idea. Your mind will notice that there is a discrepancy between where you are now and where you want to be which will create pressure. Pressure is motivation to change. If you lose focus you can always bring it back. Without a regular practice of focusing on your goals you will get distracted by something and your goal will disappear.

The next step is to create a plan of action. Being really clear about what you want, knowing your purpose, writing your goals down, committing to them, and staying focused gives you the power of clarity to write down a list of action steps the need to be executed over the year. You may not know all the steps ahead of time but you will know the next steps that take you in that direction. Even if you don’t know how you are going to do something, write it down and when the time comes, you will be surprised at the options that may appear. Having goals without a plan of action is like trying to complete a complex project without a project plan. There is too much going on, it’s too disorganized, you miss deadlines and you don’t have priorities. Eventually you get frustrated and the project/goal fails or collapses under it’s own weight.

To show how committed you are to your goals, think of something you can do right now that will get you moving toward fulfilling your goal. Even if it’s just making a phone call, do it now. You will be surprised how this simple step reinforces all the previous steps and gets you motivated and moving toward what you desire. Why wait? If you are not motivated to so something right now, how are you going to get motivated tomorrow?

To push through when things get tough, you will have to hold yourself accountable unless you bring in outside help like a coach. It makes sense to have someone besides yourself who can provide valuable feedback at critical junctures, like in the visualization stage. Some people tell their friends and family about their goals which gives them the accountability they need to stick to it. Once you start to achieve some success you will find it easier to keep motivated. Consider having a backup plan. What can you do if you get stuck for too long?

Make it part of your day to review your goals and take action. This will keep your goals alive and top of mind. By following these steps and practicing your goals each day, you have all the elements you need to succeed and achieve your goals. It isn’t always easy to push through. Some days will be easier than others but if you keep focused on your goals you will be amazed at the progress you will make. Remember, almost everything begins as a thought. You can be what you imagine if you follow these simple goal-setting rules.

giant steps life coaching goal setting