Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Is Your Stress Level Too High?

StressThe demands of life can at times be overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to avoid stress. Although brief periods of high stress are a normal part of life, many people endure unhealthy levels of prolonged stress leaving them vulnerable to mood swings, physical symptoms like headaches and stomach discomfort as well as serious disease.

If you have experienced a prolonged period of high stress you may have become habituated to it and therefore consider it normal and even tolerable. In order to avoid becoming accustomed to high levels of stress I recommend that you monitor your stress level on a regular basis. This self-assessment can be done in three steps:

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

How to Respond to a Complainer

ComplainerAsk some folks how they’re doing, and they’ll tell you they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. This can be a completely reasonable answer because we all have times when we feel the same way. However, some have a pattern of going on and on about their problems every time you see them.

We’ve all met people who complain constantly about physical problems or other things going wrong in their lives. They seem to believe they’re magnets for misfortune and nothing is ever positive. How should you handle it when someone has a habit of complaining to you?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Trends Come and Go; But Some Things Never Change

TrendsAre you having trouble keeping up with what’s “in” and what’s “out” this year? Should you decorate minimalist or maximalist? Should you drive a gas or electric vehicle? Should you eat a vegan diet or an all-animal products diet? Should you… it’s hard to keep up with the changing trends!

If you don’t want to be anxious, insecure or confused about what you “should” be doing, begin with a solid foundation of things that never change. The day to day decisions about what to eat, what to wear, and how to spend your money will become so much easier when you remember these basic principles for life:

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The 5 P’s of Transitional Leadership

Change and TransitionChange and transition is difficult for many people. In fact, most of us have a love-hate relationship with change – maybe because we believe it will be painful, messy and disruptive despite knowing that if led and managed well it can result in significant improvement and growth.

Ask anyone in our city and they will tell you that everywhere they go they encounter a construction zone. Our freeway and roads have had major delays and new housing construction has created traffic jams of slow-moving cement trucks and heavy equipment. “Messy” and “disruptive” might not be strong enough terms! But the vision of smoother, wider roads and beautiful new neighborhoods helps us remain positive during the processes of change.

In business, as well as in life, it is impossible to experience growth without change, and if you don’t know how to effectively lead and manage change and transition you will encounter greater resistance and opposition no matter how positive or beneficial the change may be. Remember that change is the event; transition is the psychological and emotional response to the event.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Signs of Overcommitment

OvercommitmentI can’t believe 2018 is over. It seems as though it passed in a flash – especially as the holiday rush seemed to accelerate the end of the year. October through December were a fun, fast-moving blur!

While I was growing up, time seemed to pass by so slowly. Important events such as Christmas and summer vacation took “forever” to arrive. Now, each new year seems to pass by faster than the one before. Can you relate?

I have come to realize that the speed with which time passes is directly proportional to how busy I am. I have also learned that the degree to which I feel impatient, frustrated, and pressured is related to my level of overcommitment.

When I become overcommitted everything seems to suffer. Instead of doing a great job, I do a mediocre job. Instead of enjoying the task, I resent it. Instead of spending time with my family, I focus on those things that have specific deadlines.

To break free from over committing yourself, practice these three important rules:

Create and maintain a balance of activities in your life.

This means you will engage in reasonable amounts of work, rest, leisure, exercise and learning. There will, of course, be times when the demands of life are greater than at other times, but do your best to maintain a reasonable balance.

Prioritize your activities.

Focus first on the things that are most important, like your faith, family and friends. It’s easy to get caught up in the small stuff that takes your valuable time. Set some time each day to do the important things first.

Practice saying “no”.

I personally find that I respect people more when they kindly, but directly, tell me “no” instead of promising something they can’t deliver. It’s better for everyone if

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

How to Respond to Challenging Customers

challenging customers

As the holiday season swings in to high gear, retail businesses and service organizations are likely to see a rise in the number of customers they serve each day – as well as stress levels associated with challenging customers.

The importance of excellent Customer Service cannot be overstated in today’s competitive markets. The reality is that people have many vendors, providers and merchants to choose from when making purchases, and if you want to keep them coming back to yours, you and your staff need to understand why it’s important and how to achieve it.

Let’s begin with the “Why”. Excellent customer service…

• Builds trust – According to business mogul Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

• Is more important than price – 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. (Harris Interactive/RightNow)

• Builds positive brand awareness

• Reduces problems for the company

• Appeals to the customer – 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. (American Express)

As you train your staff to respond to challenging customers, here are 10 principles they need to put into practice:

1. Remain Calm and Listen – You cannot intelligently or effectively respond to someone’s problem without first hearing and accurately understanding it.

2. Empathize and Sympathize – Empathy is the ability to understand and mentally share the feelings of another. Sympathy is the ability to express compassion and sorrow for someone’s misfortune.

3. Agree when possible – Agreement on an issue, no matter how small, puts you in less of an adversarial role and helps to diffuse negative emotions.

4. Remember that others may be watching – Albert Einstein

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

10 Common Leadership Mistakes

Common Leadership MistakesLeading is challenging enough without becoming your own worst enemy and  having to deal with the potential negative fallout associated with the 10 common leadership mistakes listed below. Take a moment and ask yourself if you might fall prey to one or more of these mistakes. If so, identify some action steps that will help you avoid these potential pitfalls in the future.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Keys to Confronting Well – Part II

ConfrontingIn last week’s blog I shared the first five of ten keys to confronting well. Have you had an opportunity to practice those principles in a confrontation? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Confrontation can be a scary proposition, but when you learn to do it well it can be the key to resolving differences and strengthening trust in your relationships.  Here are the last five keys to confronting well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Keys to Confronting Well – Part I

ConfrontingMany people struggle with confronting well. The thought of speaking up, especially during a conflict or uncomfortable situation, can be almost paralyzing. However, the ability to effectively confront tough issues by clearly stating what you think, feel, and want can be one of the most valuable interpersonal skills a person can possess.

This week we will look at the first five of the ten keys to confronting well so you can be prepared for those difficult conversations.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How to Exercise More Patience

PatiencePatience is a virtue, they say. If your patience is being tested and tried, it can be hard to see what value you receive from your situation. Being “good for goodness’ sake” may seem like a low return on your investment of frustration, but in reality you gain significant value by exercising patience.

People often confuse patience with apathy or being a wimp, so I looked it up in a thesaurus and found an impressive variety of synonyms – words like composure, endurance, perseverance, poise, tolerance and self-control. None of those words suggest weakness or indifference – and in fact, those two words are actually listed in the thesaurus as antonyms (opposites) of patience!