Reflect – Refocus – Relaunch

As we move to the end of another great year, I just wanted to leave you a short message to thank you for being a part of my journey throughout 2010. Please watch the short video on the YouTube link below and have a peaceful, rewarding Christmas and an even bigger, bolder, brighter 2011…..you deserve it!

http://www.youtube.com/v/udqif65_sOU?version=3

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

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The Power of NO

Learning not to say yes to everything that comes across your desk is one of the keys to overcoming procrastination. For many years I would write lists of what “needed” to be done and then be overwhelmed by the size of the list.

We all have 168 hours in every week, no one gets any more ore any less. The reason we need to learn to say “No” is so we can leave enough time to say “Yes” to the truly important things.

How we feel about ourselves has a major impact on what, and who, we believe we can say no to. Being comfortable in your own skin allows you the clarity to see what is important, and what is being done to please others. Knowing what is important is the next step….what are your “High Lifetime Value” activities?

High Lifetime Value activities are those that have a lasting effect on you, the people most important to you and the greater good. For me, spending time with my kids has a higher lifetime value than staying back at the office well into the night to get a deadline met. Having a balance between work and the rest of your life is a major contributor to winning the fight against procrastination.

Let’s do an exercise together right now…

Take out a piece of paper, and assuming you have just been told you only have 6 months to live, write out a narrative of how you would spend that time. Who would you spend it with? What would you get done that would leave the legacy you wanted to be remembered for?

Secondly, write out a “Things to stop doing” list. This list is of time wasters that fuel your procrastination, stealing your time from our High Lifetime Value activities. Comfort activities, indulged to excess, like social networking, watching TV, cleaning your desk, surfing the internet etc….

Welcome Back….

How much clearer are you seeing things after the exercise? What empowering feelings are you experiencing? For me, I am ready to take on my week….saying no to procrastination!

Have an extraordinarily productive week, doing what is most important….you deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

Purposeful Perfectionism Produces Powerful Procrastinators

In the words of Victor Kiam, the man who liked the shaver so much that he bought the company, “Procrastination is opportunities’ assassin”.

In it’s purest form, the word literally means to put something forward for tomorrow. Psychologists often cite such behaviour as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision. Why is it that we don’t put off “procrastinating”? We just go ahead and do it when the feeling comes. Perhaps if we found out what we are getting by procrastinating, (as all behaviour gives us something or we wouldn’t do it), we could look for that in other things we are putting off. Just a thought!

Procrastination may result in undue stress, a sense of shame and crisis, severe loss of personal productivity, as well as the social stigma that comes with not meeting responsibilities or commitments. These feelings combined may promote further procrastination, therefore forming a spiraling downwards into an even deeper depth of despair. While it is regarded as normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning. Chronic procrastination may be a sign of an underlying psychological disorder.

Causes of procrastination

Psychological

The psychological causes of procrastination vary greatly, but generally surround issues of anxiety, low sense of self-worth, and a self-sabotage mentality. Procrastinators are also thought to have a lower-than-normal level of conscientiousness, more based on the “dreams and wishes” of perfection or achievement in contrast to a realistic appreciation of their obligations and potential.

Physiological

Research on the physiological roots of procrastination mostly surrounds the role of the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for executive brain functions such as planning, impulse control, attention, and acts as a filter by decreasing distracting stimuli from other brain regions. Damage or low activation in this area can reduce an individual’s ability to filter out distracting stimuli, ultimately resulting in poorer organization, a loss of attention and increased procrastination.

Perfectionism gives power to the procrastinator

Traditionally, procrastination has been associated with perfectionism, a tendency to negatively evaluate outcomes and one’s own performance, intense fear and avoidance of evaluation of one’s abilities by others, heightened social self-consciousness and anxiety, recurrent low mood, and “workaholism”.

Which type of Procrastinator are you?

The relaxed type

The relaxed type of procrastinators view their responsibilities negatively and avoid them by directing energy into other tasks. It is common, for example, for relaxed type procrastinating children to abandon schoolwork but not their social lives. Students often see projects as a whole rather than breaking them into smaller parts. This type of procrastination is a form of denial or cover-up; therefore, typically no help is being sought. Furthermore, they are also unable to defer gratification. The procrastinator avoids situations that would cause displeasure, indulging instead in more enjoyable activities. In Freudian terms, such procrastinators refuse to renounce the pleasure principle, instead sacrificing the reality principle. They may not appear to be worried about work and deadlines, but this is simply an evasion of the work that needs to be completed. They ignore the time needed for their preparation for examinations. Their logical mind will give reasons to procrastinate.

The tense-afraid type

The tense-afraid type of procrastinators usually feel overwhelmed with pressure, unrealistic about time, uncertain about goals, and many other negative feelings. They may feel a sense of malaise. Feeling that they lack the ability or focus to successfully complete their work, they tell themselves that they need to unwind and relax, that it’s better to take it easy for the afternoon, for example, and start afresh in the morning. They usually have grandiose plans that aren’t realistic. Their ‘relaxing’ is often temporary and ineffective, and leads to even more stress as time runs out, deadlines approach and the person feels increasingly guilty and apprehensive. This behavior becomes a cycle of failure and delay, as plans and goals are put off, penciled into the following day or week in the diary again and again. It can also have a debilitating effect on their personal lives and relationships. Since they are uncertain about their goals, they often feel awkward with people who appear confident and goal-oriented, which can lead to depression. Tense-afraid procrastinators often withdraw from social life, avoiding contact even with close friends.

How do I overcome procrastination and become productive?

Over my many years of working in the arena of human behaviour, including the 48 years I have been dealing with my own, I have studied many great psychologists and experts who have given me strategies to utilise. The biggest challenge for the procrastinator is that information can sometimes become something else we put off using. I could easily recommend many books that you may never read, send you video links you may never watch, or give you a checklist of things to do or not do that may add to your feeling of overwhelm. Before any of this would be of any use to you, first you must find out what pain you are avoiding by procrastinating, what you are missing out on by procrastinating, and then way up the balance and see if it is worth the effort.

Over the coming weeks we will journey together in our quest to become someone who embraces imperfection and just has a go, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, taking responsibility for our inaction and moving to a whole new level of self awareness. Not everyone will get on the bus and, even of those who do, not all will stay for the whole journey, but I promise you, if you stick with it, your life will change forever.

Have an amazingly productive week….enjoying imperfection…you deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

If you kill their giants they will make you king

We all know the story of David and Goliath, a true account of a young man who solved a huge problem for the people of his community and went on to be the king of Israel. Problem solving is one of the greatest attributes of a leader in any sphere of endeavour. In business, we have an opportunity to stand out from everyone else by “solving problems” whilst our competitors are selling their goods and services.

The Israelite nation was being tormented and downtrodden by the Philistines who had sent out their champion, a giant named Goliath, to challenge them to fight. The King and his “warriors” were hiding behind the safety of rocks, in fear, not knowing what to do. Along comes David, a young man with a passion for his people, who stood strong in the face of adversity. He understood the effect the problem was having on the people and cared enough to do something about it. We all know what happened next, he took his slingshot and put a smooth stone right between the eyes of the raging giant…..sending him crashing to the ground, dead. Problem solved!

David was heralded a hero and went on to become king, all because he understood the problem of his people and went into bat for them to solve it.

I am not suggesting we all need to become king of our people…I am however suggesting that the best way to serve others in our lives is to focus on what they need and we will be set apart as someone who can be called upon to lead. This is a great place to be in business, your workplace, your church, family or any other place in your community.

Have an outstanding week, solving problems for those around you. You deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

Believing in people is the first step to bringing out their best

You can do it, I believe in you!

We may not always get what we want in life but we tend to get what we expect!

In building strong relationships with people as a leader, I have found that I must set the pace in the arena of belief. My belief in others has a countering effect on the lack of belief they have in themselves. This has been true many times in my own life when a mentor has shown me their belief and have raised the bar by expecting me to succeed. After a short period of time, when this belief has given me all I need to take positive action and see results, my belief in myself rose to a healthy level, high enough for me to self motivate and bring my best game to the table every time.

Every one of us is driven by a need for certainty and significance. Everybody wants to be a somebody. Author George M. Adams said “There are high spots in all of our lives and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else. I do not care how great, how famous or successful a man or woman may be, each hungers for applause”. Everyone wants their life to matter, even if they don’t always show it. As leaders, we have the power to give people the significance they yearn for by simply showing them how valuable they are. “You can do it, I believe in you” is sometimes all it takes to see them grow.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. We have all heard this cliche but what does it really mean? Too often we want to help people with what we know instead of caring for them because of who we are. Everybody needs someone who shows genuine interest in them and gives sincere praise and encouragement. Someone today will rise up and become all they can be, just because you showed them you believe in them and that you care about their success.

When you believe in your people…seeing everyone as a 10…every day is a great day. Why? Because every morning brings a new day in which someone’s life can change. What a wonderful gift!

Have a truly rewarding day, bringing out the best in others, I believe in you!

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

Where do you hang your hammock?

The environment we choose to live in, can easily be created, by first choosing where is the best spot to hang our hammock. For this picture to work for each of us, we must individually define what the hammock represents. For me it provides a place of solitude and relaxation, giving me the freedom to swing as the winds of opportunity take me, whilst still remaining anchored to my core values and beliefs. In this paradise of relationship, experiencing the to and fro of life with those who are most important to me, I can hear the crystal waters of clarity calmly lapping the shore, inviting me to look to new horizons, grateful for the power and beauty of creation. The ropes that connect me to the solid foundations of my life are evenly spaced to ensure my perfect balance.

The more detailed you are with your metaphor…..the more it will guide you.

So what does this picture show you, what do you hear as you read the detail of what you write? Post your thoughts below, I would love the opportunity to experience your feelings, alongside mine, as together we make a difference.

Have a fantastic week, securing your hammock. You deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

Building Relationships is a Process, not an event

In every area of life, building positive relationships enables us to connect openly with the people we spend our time with, sharing ideas, doing life together, leaving us secure in our sense of belonging and contribution. Whether it is with a boss, an employee, a client or customer, a supplier or colleague, the better our relationships, the more we feel engaged. Having great relationships is so basic and simple that sometimes we forget how really important they are, until we lose them. It’s people, not things, who make the difference.

Over many years of working in teams and studying human behaviour, there have been many instances where I have encountered people whose primary reason for being in the workplace or other team environment was to build relationships. For these people, the rise and fall of their “engagement” rests on the quality of relationships they feel empowered to build. The challenge we have as leaders is to recognise that people have different motives and drivers dependent on their personality and map of the world. Some people seek team environments, such as the workplace, as the best place to meet friends to socialise with on the weekends, or maybe even find a future husband or wife. The statistics suggest that 80% of men get most of their social interaction from work colleagues. Others have rules around separating work from play, not at all looking for their workplace to meet their social need of connection. As with all other dimensions of “people engagement”, relationships are very much an individual thing. As leaders, it is up to us to create a vehicle for our people to set the parameters for us.

Educating and understanding yourself, and your team, in personality and behavioural styles can be extremely useful. Many difficulties and conflicts in team relationships are not derived from unhealthy motives or malicious intent, but merely from a lack of understanding or a clash in communication styles. One person may think receiving an email from the next room is ridiculous and impersonal, but the other person may feel it gives you space to deal with it and respond at a time that suits you. If team members are given the opportunity to understand each others preferred style of relating, the chances for problems are reduced and the level of engagement increased.

The relationship between a leader and their team members is the most important from an engagement perspective. As we discussed a few weeks ago now, “People don’t leave organisations, they leave leaders”. First impressions count so the best time for building relationships with those you lead is early in the process. When a new member comes on board, show them you care about their well being by spending time with them, showing interest in their life, connecting them with others so they can quickly establish a sense of belonging. In our current Federal Election process there have been many comments from people who have never seen their local member out in the community yet they appear to use a pre-election campaign as a way of getting you engaged.

Relationships are a process not an event. Like a marriage, it is an ongoing process and they need to be constantly monitored and worked on or they will break. It is not enough to say and do a few things right, tick a few boxes and have it all done. As leaders, it is sometimes too easy to take for granted the importance of relationships, pushing them aside under the pressures of output and productivity goals. Now that we know the importance of relationships, we must make time for them or the resulting lack of engagement will bring further pressure and instability.

Have an amazing week, filled with mutually profitable relationships. You deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder