17 Oct

Leadership: How to Step Up and Into Organizational Change

The speed of change in this 24/7 society can be overwhelming and confusing. It doesn’t have to be.

I am delighted to share this interview by Jasbindar Singh regarding my new book; The Truth About Change. Jasbindar works with executives to sharpen their “leadership mojo” and helps leaders bring their best.

In her recent blog we talk about:

  • Why is organizational change fraught with challenges?
  • What is one thing executives forget as they implement change?
  • Why do so many leaders shy away from taking accountability to change?
  • How do you avoid getting caught in the middle and stay on top of leading change?

Instead of getting caught in the middle of the change, be on top of your next change.

 

Leadership: The Truth about Change

Jasbindar Singh is a psychologist and blogger who helps her clients step up and out to take their next steps – however big or small! www.jasbindarsingh.com

 

04 Oct

Release of New Book! “The Truth About Change”

Too many leaders and companies struggle to execute the very changes that will enhance the business. 

Without a doubt, in these dynamic times, leaders need hope — and help. Leaders need a way to close the gap between strategy and results. By engaging people in the right way, people want to be part of the solution versus feeling they have to comply. There is a power of understanding the dynamics of change which opens new doors to engagement. When leaders create the environment where people want to be part of the change everyone benefits.

My new book, The Truth About Change shares practical insights and guides leaders to accelerate successful change initiatives, now and in the future. The book provides ways for leaders to bring their best self to leading change to:

  • Organize and energize an organization’s greatest asset — human capital
  • Gain agreement and support, and overcome resistance from day one
  • Create a culture of engagement, accountability, and productivity
  • Unite and inspire others to work and think in the “new way”

Successfully leading change creates healthy businesses and provides the competitive advantage to bringing the best products and services to market. The Truth About Change lays out a path for leaders to navigate the challenges typically associated with new and different solutions.  You can find The Truth About Change: A Leader’s Guide to Successfully Executing Change Initiatives on Amazon.com.

[Order The Truth About Change]

Special thanks to all those who have been a part of getting the word out so that leaders across the globe can be more conscious about how they show up to lead change. What leaders do and say matters. How leaders convey messages and how they engage people makes a huge difference to bring positive change.

To leading change with excellence.

03 Oct

What’s the Truth About Leading Change?

In these transformative times, the status quo can be  a death sentence to a business. Change is essential for any leader looking to advance and deliver top performance.

I have personally led and experienced both successful and failed initiatives. I have been honored to work with top leaders of global companies and iconic brands, each trying to create a “secret sauce” to bring products and services to market. Through my own experiences and significant strategic engagements, I have learned some consistent truths about change, regardless of the type of company, the industry, or location. I want to share these truths with you.

Truth: Leaders who know how to navigate and lead change have a competitive advantage that enables them to reap the rewards in increased revenue and profits. Unfortunately, most leaders, while constantly initiating change, admit they are not very good at actually leading change.

Truth: If you want a different outcome, you must change what you and your people do. Everyone – from the C-Suite to the person in the field – has a role to play. But often people want the benefits of the change, without being changed. People rarely agree, accept, or adopt a new way merely by being told to “do it.”

Truth: Change requires people who are ready, willing, and able to make the change. If you want the business to achieve its full potential, you need to find ways to engage your people and your organization quickly in working in the new way. You can spend millions on a business solution, but if you can’t get people to use the system or deploy the strategy, you will not achieve the results you want.

Truth: Change initiatives are people intensive, and learning a new set of behaviors takes time. You can accelerate the change with the right reinforcement systems and behavioral engagement plans. Regrettably, too many leaders shy away from the human side of change; they find it easier to focus on the business plan tactics.

Truth: Leaders talk about what others need to do differently, but often don’t realize that change starts with themselves. It’s easy for you to forget you’ve been working on the strategic initiative for weeks and months, familiarizing yourself with the design and business plan. Once the initiative is announced, you expect people to jump into action. Too frequently, the people don’t understand the change or know what they should do. They feel overwhelmed and undersupported; they may do the wrong things, or not act at all.

At a loss of where to start?

Change starts with you. Knowing what needs to be accomplished, why it’s important beyond just the dollars and cents and how you plan to engage the hearts, hands, and heads of your fellow colleagues to want to change versus merely complying with your request.

For more insights about leading change, pick up a copy of my book “The Truth About Change” on Amazon and visit my website at www.HilaryPotts.com.

27 Oct

9 Ways to Stay Energized in Life and Work

depositphotos_60081003_webAs the year wears on, my clients and colleagues tell me how busy and consumed they are with work. Healthy New Year’s Resolutions were abandoned ages ago, replaced with a pile of work and no end in sight.

Healthy habits, what healthy habits? It’s survival mode. The days are long. Lunch is at the desk or gobbled down during one of the endless meetings. Before they know it, the day is gone.

Here’s a hint: if we don’t make time to take care of ourselves, no one else will. It doesn’t need to take hours, just a few minutes throughout the day. The key is to replenish, refresh, and reinvigorate the body, mind, and spirit to show up as our best selves.  

Here are practices to help us stay physically, mentally, and emotionally ready for whatever comes our way.

Stay Active through Exercise and Movement – Long hours of sitting can take its toll on our body. Taking frequent stretch breaks brings the body back into balance and alignment. Use the stairs whenever possible. Find a colleague and take a fifteen-minute walk break at lunchtime to jumpstart the afternoon. Ready for a change? Consider trying yoga or qi gong class.

Get an Early Start to the Day – Spend the first hour of the day on you. Robin Sharma, a personal leadership expert, calls it his 5 A.M. Club. Use the early morning hour for reflection, learning, exercise and planning. Using the beginning of the day on ourselves can prepare us for the events ahead. Can’t find the full hour? Start with fifteen minutes and begin to see a difference.

Eat Healthy Foods – We are what we eat. Skip the temptations of the bagel or danish and opt for a yogurt or piece of fruit. Carry healthy snacks, such as unsalted nuts or an apple to refuel. And, find the time to focus on eating versus multitasking over lunch.

Stay Hydrated –When our body is dehydrated it works less efficiently. Staying hydrated allows the body to flush out toxins. Drinking plenty of water replenishes our body for better movement, and improved thinking.

Get 7-9 Hours of Sleep – The body needs sleep to digest the food and thoughts that we ingest during the day. During times of change, there is a lot on our minds which can inhibit a good night’s sleep. Make a conscious effort to start to wind down an hour before bed and turn off electronic devices. Consider journaling, reading something inspirational, or meditating to prepare for a restful sleep.

Balance Through Breathing – There is much buzz about acting mindfully. It starts with our personal awareness. Noticing how we breathe is a simple place to start. How we breathe is an indicator of our emotions, energy level, and attitude. Under stress, our breathing patterns can become shallow and tight. Slow, deep abdominal breathing can sooth and calm the nervous system. When we lengthen the inhalation and exhalation, we can start to relax and release the tension that builds up under stress. Many find meditation and other mindfulness techniques helpful to stay focused and balanced. Create short breathing breaks throughout the day to stay focused and clear.

Find Happiness and Gratitude – We’re programmed to seek out what’s wrong and find solutions. Consider focusing on the positives and building onto what’s already working. Instead of gossiping or complaining find a reason to be grateful and let others know what they are doing right.

Collect Your Thoughts – Many US Presidents were prolific writers, capturing their ideas and thoughts in journals. Use a journal to capture ideas, quotes, accomplishments, plans, and dreams. Journals can be a good place to dump worries and develop solutions. Start writing about what’s on your mind and don’t worry if it’s not Pulitzer Prize worthy.

Take an Electronic Break. – Find time to unplug all electronic devices and take a digital detox. Consider unplugging for one day on the weekends.

While these practices are pretty obvious, unless we make a concerted effort to schedule time in our busy day before we know it, we’re tired and out of gas.

Incorporate a few of these practices into your daily routine and start to notice the difference.

What healthy practices help you to be at your best?

 

17 Oct

Build Confidence on the Fly

depositphotos_17437819_webWe’ve all had those situations that take us out of our comfort zone. Our heart starts to beat a bit faster. Our breathing gets shallow, and we may even begin to sweat.

Those circumstances where deep inside something is telling us to be alert.  We sense we aren’t confident.

Gaining confidence is something that can be learned and cultivated. Confidence comes from a feeling of well-being and an acceptance of who we are and in our ability right now. As we continue to develop and grow, it’s natural for our confidence to ebb and flow.

Here are practical ways to build confidence:

See Challenges as Opportunities It’s normal to be apprehensive in new situations. When the glass seems half full, solutions are limited. Acknowledge the change. Try to reframe the situation as an opportunity to learn and contribute differently.

Create a Sense of Purpose – Identify the reason for taking on the challenge in the first place. Knowing what we want to accomplish and why it’s important can inspire us to move forward.

Gain Knowledge and Understanding – Take an inventory of the facts to gain knowledge of the circumstance. What’s known and what’s unclear? Identify personal strengths and potential areas of vulnerabilities. Knowing our capabilities helps determine the resources and support needed to bring our best.

Plan and Prepare –One of my favorite quotes is “If you fail to plan, you plan for failure.” A plan provides an anchor and blueprint from which to pivot. As new information presents itself, we can make mid-course corrections.

Think and Act Positively – When we question our abilities there is an inclination for negative thoughts. Shifting the internal talk can be hard for many people.

When presented with challenges, a confident leader coaches themselves and provides balanced feedback. From positive thoughts come positive actions.  How we breathe and carry ourselves can shift our emotions, our internal talk, and our actions.

Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy has shown posture has a direct correlation with building confidence. Amy’s research suggests assuming a power pose and “faking it until you become it” to get started. Thinking, acting and dressing the part can have a positive effect in building confidence.

Take Action – Often I see people paralyzed, waiting to take big steps when a few smaller steps could lead to more actions. Smaller actions are easy to get started and give an early indication that we are on or off track.

As a child, my mom would say, “if at first, you don’t succeed, try again.” It means shedding the need for perfection and doing something. Expect to make a few mistakes. The actions will provide feedback and insights from which to make an adjustment.

Don’t let the fear of failure paralyze or step in the way. Get prepared to “Fall down seven times, and get up eight.”

Seek input and feedback – Chances are others have tread this path before. Seek insights from others. People will be flattered to be asked. Listen to all the ideas to make an informed decision.

Celebrate Early and Often – Whenever, I suggest people celebrate early successes, I hear all kinds of reasons why to wait. Build confidence by celebrating the small actions along the way. With each success come others. Want to build confidence? Stop waiting for the end result and start celebrating smaller milestones.

The next time you start to doubt your abilities, use these points as a guide to step into the role with confidence.

 

 

Are you entering a new role and want to boost your confidence?

Lead the change into a new assignment using tips and tools from The Executive Transition Playbook: Strategies for Starting Strong. Staying Focused, and Succeeding in Your New Leadership Role. Available on Amazon.

As a leadership strategist, I help senior leaders navigate today’s intensively competitive business world with success. Learn more about me at www.hapgrp.com.

26 Aug

Leaving a Legacy Through Daily Actions

Depositphotos_8910708_websiWhen people inspire us, we learn and grow. It could be someone we know or someone we admire from afar. They make it look easy and seem to thrive in what’s chaos for most of us. Their actions leave an impression and a legacy for us to follow.

 

I know, Legacy sounds like a heavy word, especially when we are just trying to make it through the day. But stay with me.

From time to time it’s helpful to ask, “Am I proud of my actions? Is what I am doing today fit within my life purpose?” With each work assignment and interaction, we lay the foundation for our legacy.

Legacies are about learning and living. We build legacies over a lifetime through personal values and daily actions. Creating a legacy gives us meaning and purpose. It’s a way to share insights and experiences, with those around us.

The recent passing of Garry Marshall, the creator of iconic shows such as; Happy Days and Pretty Women left an impression on me even though I didn’t know him.

Over his lifetime, Garry built his legacy through love, kindness, and laughter. He taught many life lessons through his personal interactions and the many shows he produced. Friends and colleagues remember him as “an inspiring leader who set high standards…

keep it simple,
arrive early and ready to work,
listen to others,
be empathetic,
celebrate people and don’t take yourself too seriously.”

Garry is a reminder not to wait until the end of our career or the end of life to start building a legacy. He built his legacy one interaction at a time. We don’t need to be famous to leave a legacy. It just takes living with purpose today.

With each assignment and role, we leave a legacy with those who interact with us. At work and in life, we face tough decisions. How we handle those challenging situations makes a difference in our life and others.

We all strive to contribute something to the world. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Reflect on what’s important to you and what brings you joy.
  • Make time for the people and causes that are important to you.
  • Pay attention to how you interact with others and be a positive influence.
  • Coach, inspire and mentor others to bring their best.
  • Bring positive energy and passion to all you do.
  • Be grateful and find ways to work with whatever life brings your way.

To create your legacy, what enhancement can you make to bring your best self?

16 Aug

The Untapped Frontiers of a New Assignment

Depositphotos_102298410_webEvery time I read one of John O’Donohue’s poems, I get inspired. His words of wisdom energize and urge me on to bring more of myself to the many roles in my life.

It’s too easy to jump in and charge ahead and forget to stop and smell the roses. This may sound so trite. Yet, a slight pause and quiet space can provide time for reflection to kindle the energy to move ahead.

So find a quiet moment between celebrating a new position and getting started anew. Honor the transition and determine the best path forward. Use this time as an opportunity to determine how you bring your best self to this role. I find John O’Donohue’s words of wisdom to be useful whether this is a new job, a different assignment or a change in role. It’s a chance to take a fresh approach.

May this poem give you the pause, reflection and inspiration to be open to the possibilities.

May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.

 May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.

 May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible.
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.

Remember to be kind
To those who work for you,
Endeavor to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.

 Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism.
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other’s heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift.

May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will you have beauty and form.

May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.

 May your work assume
A proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you.
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.

Poem from “To Bless the Space Between Us”

10 Aug

How to Fit In

Depositphotos_9306841_websiIt’s the cultural and emotional intelligence that can blindside leaders entering new roles. This is what happened to George who found himself out of a job after the first 15-months.

George is a hard charging, passionate, results-focused executive. He’d worked at many prestigious companies significantly growing their business portfolios.

When Nancy, a long-time friend, and business colleague, asked him to join the organization as the chief operating officer, George jumped at the opportunity.

George’s marching orders were to turn around the recent dip in sales. He came in and quickly reorganized the sales force to operate more like one of their competitors. The implementation hadn’t gone smoothly. George had misread the vast differences in the two company’s cultures.

There had been some tough conversations and he’d rubbed some people the wrong way. At the time he chalked this up to their resistance to change so he kept driving ahead. Isn’t that what the CEO and the board had told him to do?

Had George paid more attention to his assimilation, could he have avoided this situation? What can we learn from this misstep?

Assess the Cultural Fit – Many executives get so excited by the business opportunity; they end up joining an organization that isn’t a cultural fit. Before getting all excited about the offer, take a hard look at the culture of the company. Look beyond the business and delve into the company values and culture. Ask yourself, “Do I see myself working and thriving at this company?”

Set Mutual Expectations – Busy, action-oriented leaders can shortchange these conversations. Work with your boss and set expectations and goals. It pays to discuss your 90-day transition plan before you accept the role. Even if there is a prior working relationship, don’t assume you are in lock step in this new situation. Schedule regular check-ins to review the business and how the assimilation is progressing.

Gain Knowledge About the Business – Don’t miss this opportunity to get a fresh look at the business. This includes the cultural, political, and emotional aspects of the business. Assess all the business levers to understand how the entire business ecosystem works. Stay objective and avoid making hasty assumptions based on your own preconceived notions.

Foster Key Relationships – Knowing the people and how they work makes it much easier to make business changes. Take the time to build meaningful relationships both inside and outside the organization. Understand the needs of others and treat them with respect. By building credibility, trust, and respect with colleagues, it will be easier to navigate through challenging situations.

Gel with the Team – High performing teams are critical to an organization’s success. The entry of a new leader changes the dynamics of a team. Accelerate the assimilation by facilitating open dialogue using a New Leader Assimilation Exercise. Discuss goals, objectives, purpose and preferences to build mutual understanding. In a short time, the leader and the team can get to know one another.

Enhance Your Leadership – It can be a mistake for leaders to assume they can lead the same way they did in the last role. What may be a “normal” way of speaking in one organization may be arrogant in another. Leader transitions are a great time to make enhancements and establish new leadership behaviors.

Prepare to Lead Change – Both the timing and approach are critical to making strategic changes. Start by understanding the organization’s culture and history with implementing change. Assess the implications and risks associated with making the change. And clearly get others agreement, alignment, and commitment before charging ahead.

Leaders can avoid career missteps by managing how they assimilate in the new organization.

Please share your comments on the best practices you use assimilating into a new role.

09 Aug

Want Results? Slow Down

Underdog_l-websiteThe adrenaline rush and sense of urgency of a new role can be intoxicating. Others are counting on you to deliver results. It feels like the clock is ticking and you must do something fast.

If you’re not careful, that same passion can blur your vision of what’s really needed to achieve results. The need for speed can drive leaders to make unwise decisions. Without full knowledge of the business or alignment from colleagues, initiatives will surely stall.

The problem is, most incoming leaders aren’t fully prepared, thus the reason for an onboarding period. In fact, Carucci & Hansen’s research of incoming leaders found that nearly two-thirds of leaders admitted that they lacked sufficient understanding of what was required of them and they weren’t fully prepared for what they faced in a new role.

So why is it that new leaders jump so quickly to make decisions without fully assessing the situation? The very onboarding strategies and due diligence that could help a leader are abandoned for action.

The drive for performance and need for speed sometimes lures leaders in the wrong direction. It’s easy to convince yourself that the solution you implemented in your prior role will work just fine in this new situation.

Now hold on for just a minute.

Too many initiatives fail to meet their intended outcomes. Could it be that you are moving too quickly? Is there agreement and alignment to move things forward?

Instead of abandoning your onboarding due diligence, use it to your advantage.

  • Get others engaged with you in gathering the facts, and assessing the situation.
  • Find the time to get to know the business, people, customers, and culture.
  • Build the credibility, trust, and respect of your colleagues.
  • Let go of your paradigms and preconceived notions.
  • Assess the overall situation to determine what’s the best solution for the business.
  • Develop clear plans that help people ‘want’ to make the change versus resist the change.
  • Get everyone committed and engaged in implementing the solution.
  • Take time out to celebrate your successes and learn from your failures.

Sometimes to go fast requires slowing down just a bit to make sure you are heading in the right direction. When we go slow, others are able to get on board and help with the solution. All of this could actually save a ton of time and aggravation on the back-end.

In a new role, making changes too quickly is just one of the mistakes incoming leaders make. In a recent ExecuNet Masterclass, How to Bring Your Best to a New Role, I shared the 10 common mistakes executives make entering new roles. You can access William Flamme’s article and the video excerpt of our discussion about making changes too quickly.

https://www.execunet.com/beware-making-changes-quickly/

Are you interested in learning about the other ten mistakes?

You can receive the 10 Mistakes Executives Make Entering a New Role here

20 Jul

Unlock the Opportunity Through Others

Depositphotos_6770529_websi

Are you so focused on the end result that you are charging ahead, assuming everyone is with you?

Before you find yourself all alone, here are simple steps to lead through even the trickiest situations:

 

 

  • Help others see “why”  the change is important to make
  • Set clear direction and get buy-in for what needs to be accomplished
  • Prepare yourself for the change and know what it will take to enroll others
  • Map out an implementation plan so others can own the solution
  • Be consistent in your own actions
  • Keep people in the know with open lines of communication
  • Provide frequent feedback and remove obstacles in the way of progress
  • Celebrate even the smallest of advancements and people will begin to move in the right direction

When leaders enable others by gaining agreement and buy-in, the momentum of the change begins to shift from the actions of one to the actions of many.