Everything is impossible and everyone is a shark


Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 9.28.17 AM

The Monday MOVE Idea

Each Monday until the launch of my upcoming book MOVE, I’ll be sharing an important idea from the book. This week: Everything is impossible and everyone is shark.

Leadership is supposed to be hard

There will be times when you face ugly challenges and personal attacks.

I coach a lot of senior executives and with pretty much everyone we reach a point where I tell them,

You’ll be better off if you start your thinking with the idea that, everything is impossible and everyone is a shark

Treat it like work, not like injury

If you can get your head around the fact that everything is supposed to be hard/nearly-impossible, and that you are likely to be swimming with predators, you can start using the same talents and energy that you use to solve sensible business problems, to address these personal challenges too.

It’s possible to treat this type of obstacle like any other project or program and get busy working to overcome it.

If instead you spend energy thinking, “But this is totally unreasonable and others are out to get me,” (while that might be true) that line of thinking doesn’t give you an action plan to deal with it.

Waiting for the rest of the world to get reasonable is a bad strategy because it doesn’t happen.

Once you embrace the fact that YOUR JOB = Your job description PLUS all the crap that gets in the way of delivering on your job description…You will feel (and BE) in a lot more in control.

Read MOVE

I’m really excited to share the important ideas, and all the tools I put in my upcoming book MOVE to help you get your team (at any level in the organization) to execute your strategy more decisively.

MOVE will be available in February, but you can download a free preview now or pre-order your copy now.
Click to download
Click to Pre-order
Move thumb

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Who else would like to see this?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Using Excellence Against Bullying


As I was writing my blog for this week, I was thinking that we are all a bit distracted today.

So I thought I will re-run this article I wrote a few years ago, about taking control of what you can control, and creating excellence as an offense against being bullied.

Here’s to a future of prosperity and peace for everyone…

Bullied as a kid

I think many of us have the experience of being a misfit or an outcast as a child. I certainly do not have the corner on this. But with all the talk of bullying right now, it got me thinking about my childhood bullies and the ultimate impact that being bullied had on my life.

When I was a child, I was fat, smart, super-enthusiastic about school and bad at gym class. If I had to pick a Simpsons character, it probably would have to be Martin.

martin

I was a misfit to begin with, so I had a fair amount of in-your-face, teasing and emotional torture — but I also had a bully. My bully was the cute, popular girl who had all the social power. And for years, she used her power primarily to persuade people to hate Patty – I don’t know all the reasons why.

But the result was that I spent from age 5-12 with people calling me aside, looking over their shoulder to make sure they were not seen talking to me, to tell me, “I really don’t hate you, it’s just that I have to pretend to hate you, because D told me to — You understand, right?”…

Bullied as a teen ager

By the time I went to high school, I had a year or two where I had lost the extra weight, and had broken free of my bully’s power over me. Other kids were finally making their own decisions, and I was very practiced at deflecting the bullying anyway. So by the time I got to high school I was fairly confident and hopeful.

But alas, in high school I encountered a different set of issues that again made me a social outcast. I was on an advanced curriculum (though such a thing did not officially exist). So as freshmen, I basically was just shoved into math and science classes with juniors and seniors. I also got the lead in the school play — which freshmen were not supposed to do — So once again, I was an outcast.

As an example, When the four of us leads in the play were photographed to be featured in the local newspaper, we got stacks of that issue, cut out the article/picture, and hung them all over the school to advertise the play.

It didn’t take more than about 2 days for my face to be either scribbled out, scratched out, have gum stuck on it, or have, shall we say “unflattering” things drawn on it.

All throughout high school I had the experience of approaching a circle of people having a conversation, walking up to it, hoping the circle would open and they would let me in, and it would just tighten up leaving me on the outside to eventually walk away.

Then after freshman year, I developed a thyroid problem and got fat again, which only added to the pointing, mean comments, and laughter when I walked by.

Why I bring this up now

This week I am working with a group of women executives from all over the world on building career success on purpose (in a male-dominated company). So I got to thinking about what I had experienced as a woman.

I think you know from reading this blog, that most of what I have to say has nothing to do with being female. The things I typically talk about are useful things that work for everybody.

But I’ve spent a lot of time (as a female), in male dominated environments, so I do have some perspective.

As an engineering student, an engineer, and later a technology business manager there were mostly men around. But somehow, I personally never found that to be an obstacle or a difficulty. I only recently realized why…

The big AHA

A few weeks ago, the connection between being bullied, being female, and ultimately being successful at work occurred to me.

I was listening to a group of women talk about the challenges of working in a male-dominated environment and heard:

A big reason women drop out of male dominated college programs and careers is that they feel socially uncomfortable and unwelcome amongst all the men behaving like men.

Here’s the thing…

By the time I got to the male dominated college curriculum in engineering, and later went on to work in male dominated technology and business organizations, the reason it was not an issue for me was because…here is the big Aha…

I had no expectation that the social environment should be comfortable, welcoming or pleasant.

It never occurred to me even for a moment that I should expect to feel social acceptance. It never occurred to me that social acceptance was even a thing!

The workplace was just yet another environment where I was an misfit or an outcast — in other words, completely normal to me.

So the social discomfort I faced in male environments of sometimes being dismissed, shut out, or put down, or treated unfairly because I was a woman – these things did not even register as anything of note on my radar. In my life up to that point — that’s just how life worked.

Be Excellent

People often ask me where I get my drive, my assertiveness or my self confidence.

A big part of that came from enduring my childhood bullies.

I learned two very important lessons early on, from my mother, that helped me survive my childhood bullies and ultimately thrive despite the social discomfort.

1. Bullying is always about them. It’s never about you. So you need to learn not to take it personally.

2. Be excellent at the things you can control and everything else will sort itself out.

Excellence vs. Acceptance

So, instead of seeking social acceptance, which wasn’t to be had anyway, I pursued excellence.

In school I focused on learning. I did more than was asked of me. I achieved things. I created things. I became proud of myself even if no one else gave a damn. If someone tried to belittle my accomplishments or make fun of me for being so earnest, I just ignored them, because that was only about them, not about me.

So when I later faced corporate bullying, or was dismissed or put down, my reaction was “been there, done that. You got nothin’ on little D!” Being bullied on the job didn’t hurt me because I had years of practice ignoring it and rising above it.

So as I built my career, despite whatever social or sexist obstacles I might have been facing, I just kept focused on doing excellent work on things that would have an inarguable, positive impact on the business.

Excellence removes all the power from personal attacks.

My approach to success was something like this: It doesn’t matter if you don’t like me, or think I don’t belong here because I’m not like you. I think you’ll agree this outcome was necessary, important and added real value…SO THERE!

Respect & Friendship

I want to note that I always had a couple of good friends through my childhood and college years. I don’t want to give the impression that I was totally alone.

Also, in the workplace, if I was treated wrongly because I was a woman, it was certainly not by all men all the time. There were always men who treated me with respect and kindness, cared about my success and helped me.

And as my own career grew, I shared success and brought people with me. I always try to treat all people with respect. I would like to think that I was never myself a bully, or a credit-stealer, or dismissive of anyone. So I ultimately found social acceptance along with success.

As they say, “It gets better”.

Lessons from being bullied

I am certainly not advocating childhood bullying as a development approach! And these days with the internet, the level of cruelty has been amplified to an extent I can not possibly even relate to.

My bullies had to be mean in person — that has a tremendous dampening effect on the level of pain they could inflict.

But I think there are a few important lessons to take away from what I learned from being bullied.

1. Never let bullies impact your self-confidence, because it is always about them — not you.

2. You shouldn’t expect every work environment to be socially comfortable. When it is, that’s great. But when it’s not, that doesn’t automatically mean you don’t belong there. When you judge a work environment or opportunity, always think, what can I get done here? If it has a value to the business, and it has a value to you personally, because the experience is helping you build your career — even if it is socially uncomfortable, you may want to hang in there – but only if it’s worth it.

3. If it’s not worth it, get out. If the environment is super-painful, if your boss is a bully, AND working there has no value to you, get out. It’s not worth it!

4. Don’t ever think you need to change who you are to fit in. Stay true to yourself, and just be excellent at the things you can control.

Was this useful?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it (share button below) with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

My upcoming book MOVE is about decisively executing strategy

Move thumb
Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successfull management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.

It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it!

Available in Feb: But you can pre-order!

Pre-order MOVE here

Get a copy for your whole team

Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.

patty blog image

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

What to do when someone is attacking your credibility


Nature___Forest_____Black_forest_082855_

Bullies and Saboteurs

I think we all have those moments in our careers when we feel vulnerable because there is someone who is doing things to undermine our credibility.

I break this type of negative, damaging behavior into 2 groups.

1. Bully’s: People who are aggressive, dismissive, and attacking you to your face
2. Saboteurs: People who do their work to undermine you behind your back

Today I want to talk about saboteurs.

The attack…

Saboteurs are the people for example, who in a management review meeting (when you are not there) will say things like:

“I noticed that people in [your organization] are not motivated.”

Or

“I don’t understand these numbers coming from [your organization], it seems like they are underperforming”

Or

I’m not sure we need to be making such a big investment in [your area]

Or, a direct personal attack,

[Your name here], is hard to work with, and is causing problems in our organization.

It’s not about you

It’s important to realize that when people try to put you down it is never about you — it is always about them and their insecurity.

If they were really competent, secure people who are trying to improve the business they would not use this approach.

They would instead come to you directly and say, “I’m concerned about something. Could we talk so I can understand it better? Maybe I can help.”

The bad-mouthing behind your back does nothing to move the business forward. It only serves to feed something in their insecurity.

The dangerous issue happens when over busy executives “hear things” and don’t have the time to get the real story. Your brand can be damaged by saboteurs because people in the power structure simply don’t have the time to sort it all out.

So you have to deal with it. You need to make it stop.

Silencing your detractors

So how do you stop saboteurs? How do you shut down the negative publicity?

After you remember that it is not about you — it is always about them, the next thing you need to realize is that saboteurs only have power if they work in secret and in the shadows, behind the scenes.

Because what they are saying is not grounded in reality — it needs the shadows to strengthen it and to make it seem more exclusive and important.

So what you need to do, is to simply shine a giant spotlight on them.

Take away the safety and the power of their shadows

In a meeting where everyone is present, say, “I heard you have a concern about the numbers my group is delivering. I’d be happy to clarify, can you give me a specific example of what you are concerned about?”

Or, walk right up to them and say, “I heard that you are seeing a motivation issue in my team. This is very concerning and important to me. So let’s schedule a meeting in two days where you can present to me your detailed findings. I’ve already raised your concern with our boss, because this is so important, so I’m anxious to resolve it and I need your inputs.”

When you call them on it, you’ll find that they’ve got nothing real, and they’ll realize that they’ve got nothing real.

And they will also realize that they won’t be able to work in the shadows when it comes to you. You are going to call them on it. You are going to shine the spotlight into the darkness that they need to sustain their power, and force them to produce real data which they do not have.

They will back off because now you’ve made it no fun. You’ve taken away their strongest tool: the shadows where non-specific, negative talk like this thrives.

If they were talking about real data to improve the business, they wouldn’t need shadows and secrecy to do that. They could and would be straightforward about it.

This negative sabotage behavior is not about you. It’s only about their insecurity, or dubious motives.

Take them seriously

When you take the high ground and behave as though you take a saboteur seriously because you are serious about improving the business, you will find that they will very quickly be out of moves. They will be reluctant to attack you again because it’s too hard, it doesn’t work, and they run the risk of looking bad themselves when you ask them to get specific and they can’t.

What do you think?

How have you handled difficult situations with saboteurs?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Was this useful?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

Rise_CVR_3D_300

Free eBook Download

How to improve your self-confidence (Part 1)



conspire

Bullies and power-grabbers

As this wonderful graphic from Hugh McLeod says: The world will conspire to make you less than you are, so decide what you are going to do about it, then act.

Amen.

The world is full of people who will try and make you feel small. These can be friends, colleagues, bosses, teachers, partners…They are out there and we all encounter them.

When you come across people who need to exert their power over you with dismissive and diminishing behaviors you need to recognize, that as with all bullying, it is always about them, and never about you.

I have written in the past about defending against bullies and power-grabbers, also did a webinar on dealing with Bullies and Sabotage.

But but defending against these actively negative people in your work and life is not the important point I want to make today, which is…

Do not give away your power voluntarily.

I made this short video as part of my “I’ll answer anything” series. (1:40)
(Please excuse the audio blips and sync problems.)

Don’t give your power away voluntarily!

Let me explain what I mean by this.

When you meet a person who you are very impressed by because they are more accomplished than you in some way, you must resist the urge to think: “I’m not as good as you”.

That is what I mean by giving away your power voluntarily.

There are many successful, impressive people who are not bullies. They are NOT trying to make you feel like you are less than you are. They are just being their (impressive) selves.

Stop doing it to yourself!

Stop giving your own power away when no one is attempting to take it, just because you are impressed.

When you meet someone who really impresses you, try instead to appreciate them, admire them, and learn from them — just never compare yourself to them!

If you compare yourself to someone else and then say to yourself, “I’m not as good as you, I’m not as impressive as you”, you have diminished yourself unnecessarily.

Keep and build your self confidence

Think about it this way…

If your self confidence can only come from comparing yourself to someone that you can feel superior to, YOU will become one of those people who needs to make others feel like less than they are.

You are much better off to surround yourself with accomplished, talented people that you can learn from. Then use your experience with them to become more accomplished yourself. You’ll gain some self-confidence for real — because you got better.

Comparing yourself in a way that leaves you feeling smaller, is not useful. You are giving your power away voluntarily.

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Was this useful?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

Rise_CVR_3D_300

Free eBook Download

Bullies and Sabotage



This month’s webinar was on Bullies and Sabotage.

If you missed it, you can download the podcast!

Bullies and Sabotage

This is a useful webinar to download if you:

  • Need to deal with a boss or a peer who is a bully, and keep your career intact
  • Need to counter a saboteur who is challenging your credibility and reputation
  • Want some specific tactics to disarm bullies and saboteurs, and protect yourself
  • Want to feel stronger and more confident around strong, negative personalities

My childhood bully

I was bullied for many years as a child. I was fat and nerdy and smart and awkward. Most kids were very mean to me. I was an outcast.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about being thankful for my childhood bullies.

I got such a strong response to my personal story, and many of you asked me to do a webinar on this topic. So I did.

Unfortunately the workplace is scattered with managers and peers who are bullies — and random, insecure, but diabolical people who set out to sabotage you behind your back.

I have had a lot of practice enduring, and dealing with bullies, and unwelcoming work environments. I developed some ways of thinking about this and some very effective counter-approaches to not only defend against these behaviors, but make forward progress in spite of them.

What the webinar covers

This webinar covers how move past bullying and sabotage while staying on the high ground.

We covered:

  • How to effectively defend against bully bosses and peers, and move beyond it
  • How counter saboteurs who are undermining your efforts or your reputation
  • Resources for dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
  • The difference between malicious and incompetent people and how to react
  • How to feel stronger, more confident, and make progress despite adversity

Bullies, Saboteurs and Narcissists (oh my!)

There are three types you need to watch out for and have a plan to defend, protect and overcome.

Basic Bullies: People with power who are unkind, dismissive, diminishing to your face.

Saboteurs: Those who seek power by undermining you and discrediting you behind your back.

Narcissists: Those who must abuse others to fuel their psychologically damaged ego.

It’s never about you

The most important thing to remember, a lesson I learned at a very early age from my mother, is that bullying is never about you, it’s always about them. These type of people have a need to damage and diminish others. If it isn’t you, they’ll move on to someone else.

It’s so important in the heat of the moment, when you are feeling hurt and angry, to practice having a productive response vs. an emotional one. This is not easy, but it is the foundation for dealing with any of these types of attacks.

In the webinar we covered some tactics to bolster your confidence, and make yourself no fun to bully — so they move on.

Saboteurs require secrecy

The reason sabotage only happens behind the scenes is because that’s the only way it works. If you suddenly shine the spotlight on it, and hold the saboteur responsible for business outcomes instead of secret gossip, they lose their power.

We talked about some specific ways to get the information out into the open so it can’t hurt you.

Be aware, and have a plan

If you are dealing with someone who is undermining you and putting you down, you must have a proactive plan to preserve your sanity and confidence, and counter the attacks in a productive way.

It certainly helps to have mentors and sponsors in the mix, but you should also be planning your interactions with this person. Don’t leave it to chance and see what happens next time. Be ready.

Worksheets included

This webinar also includes some worksheets to help plan your approach:

  • Prepare for bully situations
  • Prepare to unravel sabotage with facts
  • Resources for dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Get the webinar now

Free Download

If you are a member of Azzarello Group, you can download the webinar for free.

Purchase

If you are not a member, you can: purchase this webinar,

or you can become a member and get the webinar for free..

If you are tempted to purchase this webinar, that’s great.

But you might want to consider getting a membership to Azzarello Group — it’s a much better deal.

With a membership, for just $179 for a whole year, you can get access to everything in the member library.

Get a 25% Discount on Membership – this week only!

And if you join this week, you’ll get a 25% discount! Use code BULLY25 at checkout.

So you’ll get your full-year membership for only $134 this week!

BECOME A MEMBER NOW

As a member, just on this topic alone, you can also get related webinars for free on:

  • Influencing Difficult People
  • Executive Presence
  • Managing Your Boss
  • Professional Networking and Mentors
  • Confidence and Your Personal Brand
  • So you might as well join and get them all for free!

    Additional benefits for members

    Take a look through the Member Library and see all the other great webinars and resources you get too.

    Plus, as a member, you get live coaching from me in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls where you can ask your own questions.

    Membership a great resource (and a steal at $179 for a whole year) to help you advance your career.

    Become a Member

    BECOME A MEMBER NOW

    Other Options:
    Purchase only this webinar with worksheets and templates
    Purchase just the audio podcast


    ABOUT PATTY:

    patty blog image
    Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
    She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

    You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

    Rise_CVR_3D_300

    Free eBook Download