Leadership competencies Feed

Do It Now! 5 Steps to Tackle Procrastination

What are you procrastinating in your life?  Most of us have something on our "to do" list that we keep putting off for one reason or another, resulting in stress, productivity loss and dissatisfaction in our lives. It doesn't have to be that way.
Today I'll share 5 useful steps you can take to tackle procrastination in your life:  

  1. Want it done. Really want it done. How strong is your desire to complete the goal/task/project? Give it a number on a scale of 1-10. If your desire ranks less than 8, either find a way to make it important to you or ditch it.
  2. Craft a plan. With deadlines. Create step by step plans to achieve your goal. Attach meaningful deadlines to the steps so you will know the impact of achievement or procrastination ion on your goal.
  3. Take baby steps. Each step should be small so you can focus on the task at hand without getting overwhelmed. List your steps as specific actions rather than generalities.
  4. Strive for "good enough", not perfect. Many people delay project efforts because they think it will be too much work. Perfectionism is the enemy here. Decide ahead of time what is good enough and go with it.
  5. Partner up. Accountability is key in getting things done. Partner with someone who will ask you how you are doing on your goals. Who might you partner with?

Overcoming procrastination is possible with discipline and determination. How might you overcome your procrastination via the 5 steps listed above? When will you start?

What would you add to my list? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

Need help tackling your procrastination habit? Click HERE to schedule your complimentary consultation today!

Procrastination and Productivity

Good may be the enemy of great, but procrastination is just the enemy. Procrastination is one of the biggest time wasters in life and its cycle of delay-avoid-panic-produce enables us to live the reactionary life of a "firefighter", putting out proverbial fires and doing work only when it has to be done.

What are you procrastinating with right now? Have you ever thought about how it affects you?

Procrastination contributes to stress, emotional energy drain, lack of creativity and reduced quality of work, all of which reduce productivity. Revisit the last time you put off doing something important for a long time. Picture in your mind how your body felt once the deadline approached and you weren't even close to completion.

As you reflect, consider the following:

  • How many times before the work was done did you think about the "thing" when you weren't working on the "thing"?
  • When you remembered your undone project, how much energy drained out of you?
  • What else could you have done with all that wasted time and energy?

We need to just do "it". Nike was on to something with their slogan. I wonder if they knew that this mantra could be the solution to many people's productivity woes.

For an increase in productivity, pay attention this week to how many times you say to yourself "I'll do it later" or "I need to do that". If the task is one you can do in less than two minutes, do yourself a favor by telling yourself "Do it now"...and just do it. Changing your mantra might just change your life.

What is your favorite way of procrastinating? How do you beat it? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Making the Most of Your Team: The "I" in Team

We've all heard the phrase "There is no "I" in team". Actually, there is - YOU! If you lead a team, you are its most important component and success or failure rests and depends upon you. I've challenged many a leader to look in the mirror and see how their actions or inaction might be contributing to the very things they complain about.

Whether you inherited a team because of a role transition or desire to inject new life into your current team, following are some steps you can take to motivate and inspire your team to peak performance.

1. Know what they know...or don't know. How well do they understand their purpose and direction, roles and expectation? What are their priorities?

2. Know who they are ...individually. What do you know about each team member's background, goals, accomplishments or organizational contributions? Do you know what motivates them?

3. Know how they are ... collectively. What are their strengths? What causes strife within the group?

Team success starts with you, the "I" in your team. What will you do this week to take a step towards a more motivated and productive team?
Share what you will do by clicking the comment link below, then come back and tell us how things changed for you. We'd love to hear from you!

Related posts in this series:

Part 1: Hire 'em And Leave 'em: A Recipe for Failure
Part 2: Survive the Role Transition: Be Strategic
Part 3: Making A Change: Assess, Then Act
Part 4: Overwhelmed and Underprepared? Examine the Facts

Want a more productive or cohesive team?
Click HERE to schedule your complimentary consultation today!

As a Certified Behavioral and Values Analyst, my assessments combined with group training and personal coaching can help you and your group achieve peak performance by better understanding your team's dynamics.

Humility and Greatness: Thoughtful Thursday

What comes to mind when asked to picture the perfect Level 5 leader? Charisma? Power? Intelligence? Honesty? Does humility come to your mind? It should, because according to one of the most notable business minds of our time, Jim, Collins, Level 5 leaders possess humility which sets them apart from the rest.

To dig further into this concept, today's Thoughtful Thursday quote comes from Jim Collins' Good to Great, p. 22.

Level 5 leaders are a study in duality: modest and willful, humble and fearless.


  • How might these dual traits can coexist in one person? What would that look like?
  • Why do you think it is so hard to be both great and humble?
  • How pure is your ambition? Is it first and foremost for your organization or for yourself?
  • What one thing might you do differently this week to become a Level 5 leader?

The Journey to Authentic Leadership: Examine Your Story

The difference with authentic leaders lies in the way they frame their stories.  Their life stories provide the context for their lives, and through them they find their passion and inspiration to to make an impact on the world. (Bill George, True North, p. 15)

Have you ever stopped to consider how your unique story has shaped and equipped you to impact those around you? No one has a story exactly the same as yours.  Our individual journeys, with their peaks and valleys, shape the way we live and lead. Both our personal and professional experiences develop our leadership gifts over time.

Each life experience teaches us about our passion to lead.

Today I'm going to share with you an exercise called the "Path of Life", that gave me tremendous insights into my own leadership style. Drawing the path of our lives enables us to examine the impact of our past upon our present and future. Are you ready to learn?

Take a piece of paper and start in the bottom left corner, labeling the starting point of the line "Birth".  Then draw the path of your life from there to the upper right corner.  Put some twists and turns on the page.  Be creative as you let your life story unfold before you.  Label the milestones - places you have lived, significant achievements, relationships, family, life-changing lessons learned... anything that is important to you.  Draw some pictures to represent the events on the timeline of your life.
When you are finished, look at your path and divide it into four or five chapters marked by significant events in your life.  Give each chapter a descriptive title and label the chapters on your path.  Your life story has made you into the person you are today. 

My life story has taught me to lead with more compassion and less judgment. What about yours? How can you better use it to impact your world tomorrow? Share with us in a comment by clicking the comment link below. 

Competitiveness: The Leadership Edge

Competitiveness is defined as tenacity, boldness, assertiveness and a willingness to win in all situations.  Naturally competitive people have a leadership edge in the professional world because the world is a competitive place. Those who aren't so inclined often feel left behind their more tenacious counterparts.

So are less competitive people destined to be second class leaders? Absolutely not. For the less driven at heart, competitiveness can be learned. And as with all strengths, being competitive has its drawbacks too.

We all have our issues.

I know all too well that being competitive can be both a virtue and a vice. My parents can tell you stories of my temper tantrums as a little girl when losing at miniature golf, bowling, and board games on family game night. My competitive nature has caused many a frustration in me and those around me, but it has also been the source of my greatest successes in life and in leadership.

When harnessed properly, competitiveness can result in sustained progress toward a goal. Competitive people are:

  • able to clearly see and define goals
  • instinctively appreciative of competition and the associated reward for winning
  • able to see critical path elements toward reaching goals
  • willing to learn new skills and adapt attitudes.

How competitive are you? Do you make everything a win-lose type of game or do you rarely "keep score" because it just doesn't matter? If you don't know, ask your friends about yourself.  They WILL know. Or, contact me for help with an assessment tool to help you develop that leadership edge. I love to help people win.

Tips for Developing Competitiveness

  • Define three main goals in both your personal and professional life. Plan three action steps for each goal and follow them through to completion.
  • Learn to lose. How can you acknowledge that your time to "win" is further down the road? How might this change your attitude about a current "loss"?
  • Thoughtfully answer the following: Why do I deserve success? What can I do to be more deserving of success?

Now its your turn.  Do you have anything to add to this post?  Share with us by clicking the comment link below!

Become Unnoticeable to Be Noticed

One thing I know from playing sports all of my life is that the most talented team or individual doesn't always win. Victory goes to those who play to win by using sound fundamentals, minimizing mistakes and maximizing their brains. I've won a lot of games by just playing smart. Smart leaders can win this way too.

Frequently as an entrepreneur and as a leader within several nonprofit organizations, I encounter people who run late for appointments, fail to follow through on commitments and exhibit carelessness with their written communication. Sloppiness abounds in these fundamentals and it boggles my mind how many people don't play life to win.

To further illustrate, consider a small choir ensemble. No matter how great the music selection, one off-key singer taints the whole performance and listeners leave with their only memory being how they cringed during certain moments of the song.

One bad note overshadows a potential masterpiece.

Have you ever thought about how habitually neglecting the basics affects your effectiveness?

If you want to set yourself apart as a great leader, start by avoiding the "cringe" factor. Don't let someone count you out before you get a chance to show them your skills.

Play smart.
Be on time.
Use spell check and spell people's names correctly.
Keep and remember your promises.

These are the little things anyone can do.

Excellent leaders excel in the little things and become noticed for being unnoticeable. They set themselves apart by doing the things everyone CAN do, but don't. Things like being on time, being conscientious and being trustworthy can take you far. Don't let them take you back.

What off-key notes taint your performance? What one little thing can you correct today for maximum impact? What leadership fundamentals would you add to my list? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Getting Things Done: Ready, Set, DO!

You have more to do than you can possibly do. You just need to feel good about your choices. - David Allen

Ready...Set...DO. Today is the final step in the series highlighting David Allen's Getting Things Done process for stress free productivity. You've made and reviewed your lists and have some valuable time available. It is time to finally get something done...to DO.

The goal in the "do" stage of David Allen's process is to "move from hope to trust in your actions" resulting in an immediate increase in your speed and effectiveness.  Allen gives us three models for making choices that when integrated into your routine, will help you feel good about your choices.  Following is a brief synopsis.
1.  Choosing Actions in the Moment (consider the following of each task, in the order below):

  • Context
  • Time available
  • Energy Available
  • Priority

2.  Evaluating Daily Work:

  • Doing predefined work
  • Doing work as it shows up
  • Defining your work

3. Reviewing Your Work:

  • 50,000+ feet: Life
  • 40,000 feet: Three- to five-year vision
  • 30,000 feet: One- to two-year goals
  • 20,000 feet: Areas of responsibility
  • 10,000 feet: Current projects
  • Runway: Current actions

There is definitely an art to getting things done.  Everything must be considered in its proper context as it interrelates to the rest of our lives.  We need to consider both the immediate, mid-term and future when choosing what to do. Those who master the art of productivity set themselves apart from the rest in all that they do.  How will you set yourself apart today?

Want to start from the beginning of the series? Below are links in order.  Happy DO-ing!

  1. The Art of Efficiency
  2. Collect the "stuff" representing your "to do's"
  3. Process what you collect
  4. Organize results of processing
  5. Review results as options "to do"
  6. Do the best thing to do 

Now, tell me what you think of the process. What experiences have you had in getting organized & productive? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Weekly Reviews: The Most Essential Part of Productivity

The most critical part of efficient, stress-free productivity management is the weekly review process. This is the piece of the process where we decide what to actually DO! Yet, most of the people I talk to, including myself, find this part of the process the hardest part to implement? Why? Because reviewing doesn't seem as productive as doing. 

But how will we know WHAT to most efficiently DO, if we don't review? Reviewing is how we know what to do. Consider the following quote by James Fenimore Cooper:

The affairs of life embrace a multitude of interests, and he who reasons in any one of them, without consulting the rest, is a visionary unsuited to control the business of the world.

If you've been participating the past few posts, you've collected, processed and organized all of your stuff.  You've impressed yourself or perhaps even overwhelmed yourself with all of the lists you've made of your future "to dos".  It is time now to learn what it means to review.
According to David Allen's "Getting Things Done", "everything that might potentially require action must be reviewed on a frequent enough basis to keep your mind from coming back to the job of remembering and reminding." 
The weekly review is the time to:

  • Gather and process all your "stuff."
  • Review your system.
  • Update your lists.
  • Get clean, clear, current and complete.

If we've done a good job at capturing on paper all of these items that require action in a complete system, we will get the most payoff from the review process.  Then, we can confidently make action decisions taking all the affairs of our life into account.  We will finally know what to do!  
Stay tuned next for my next post on the final step in David Allen's process, DO, and learn a model for making choices. For more information about this process, I would be happy to consult with you.  Please use my contact information at left.  Additionally, check out the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.

What are your experiences with a review process of this nature? Would you please share your struggles or successes in a comment below?

Getting Organized

I got it all together, but I forgot where I put it. - Anonymous

Have you ever finished a massive cleaning project and then couldn't remember where you put something because it was in its place?  I hope someone can relate. There is more to getting things done than merely being efficient at getting papers off our desk and ideas out of our head.  Processing our workflow requires a good physical organization system. 
If you've been reading the last few weeks, you've been following along with me as we proceed through David Allen's "Getting Things Done" steps.  So far, we've covered the steps of
Collecting and Processing.  Now, we are ready for the step of Organizing.
Processing and organizing go hand in hand and I've found that in practice it worked for me to develop an organizational structure as a part of the initial processing process.  As I've implemented these steps on my own, I set up a working structure before processing anything and modified it as I went along.  Keep in mind that the organization step is one that can't be set up all at once and takes some experimentation.  Find what works for you. 
For everyone, however, there are  seven primary types of things that will need to be organized: 

  • A "Projects" list
  • Project support material
  • Calendared actions and information
  • "Next Actions" list
  • A "Waiting For" list
  • Reference Material
  • A "Someday/Maybe" list

All we really need is a calendar, lists, and folders...and a process to review our lists so we don't forget what is on them!  We'll discuss the review process next time.  That's when we plan how to get things done


NOTE: For more information about this process, I would be happy to consult with you.   Additionally, check out the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.