Sometimes, the key to productivity is to stop thinking about it!


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Feeling Discouraged, Stuck, Lazy?

Do you ever have one of those days when every single thing on your task list feels impossible or just too annoying… and you can’t seem to get yourself engaged on anything?

As leaders we will always have hard things to deal with that will make some days feel miserable: Impossible demands, nasty politics, aggressive competitors, arrogant bosses, low performers, schedule pressures, resource cuts, multiple stakeholders, difficult people…the list goes on and on.

Add to that too much travel, sleep deprivation, long commutes, and seasonal allergies!

People often ask me how I am so productive all the time.

The first point is that I am not productive all the time!

But I do have some things I do to make progress, when I’m not in the mood to do the work.

1. Move something forward, anything

If the important things on your task list are just too unappealing to consider at this moment…Pick something small. Pick something easy. And move it forward.

The feeling of moving something forward — anything– no matter how small, can break the curse.

This pattern of achieving something will settle in, and you’ll be ready to tackle something bigger.

2. Stop dreading it…

The other technique I use when I really need to do something I am dreading, is to stop thinking about it and just start doing it.

Once I get going, it’s never as bad as I thought it would be.

Grab a template, save it under an appropriate file name. Write something — anything. Write it badly. Find the first piece of information…Just start.

I find that thinking about it too much before you start doesn’t help you start!

For me the key to productivity is sometimes to simply stop worrying and to start doing.

3. Drop the guilt

This was probably the hardest one to master, but finally, I realized that as humans we simply can’t be highly productive every day.

Some days, even when you can get yourself to start, it doesn’t go well. Your brain has other plans that day.

On those days when it is just not going to happen I’ve learned to accept it, and more importantly, to not be wracked with guilt.

So on a day when being productive is off the table, the two remaining choices are:

1. Don’t be productive and be OK…Appreciate the day for other reasons
2. Don’t be productive and be miserable…let the guilt entirely ruin the day

This one was not easy, but I’m getting better at it.

This is why one of my favorite quotes is from Mary Anne Radmacher: “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow.”

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


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

Creating High Employee Engagement



This month’s Professional Development webinar was on the topic of Creating High Employee Engagement.

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Get the webinar

If you missed it you can download the recording.

Members of my professional development program can download this webinar for free.

This is a very useful webinar to download if you want to:

  • Increase the energy, commitment and motivation in your team
  • Create a loyal community within your organization
  • Keep your team focused on executing your strategy
  • Create strong support for your initiatives within the organization
  • Get people to care personally about what is important to the business

Here is what we talked about:

Real Engagement is Personal

This is an important topic because so often executives want to create an “Engagement Program,” or they ask HR to solve an employee motivation issue.

A programatic approach will never have enough impact on genuine employee engagement because real engagement is always personal.

If someone is truly engaged it’s because they care personally. They have their own reason to be excited about what they are being asked to do.

The trick to meaningful employee engagement is to give individual people reasons to actually care personally.

The webinar:

I put together this webinar to give leaders ideas and specific techniques for creating genuine engagement and motivation in their teams.

What the webinar covered:

  • How to make engagement personal
  • How to make your employees feel like super-heroes
  • 4 things that truly create strong engagement
    1. The right kinds of top down communications
    2. Changing Communication into Conversation
    3. Decorating the Change
    4. Getting the crap out of the way

Making people feel like super-heroes

I got this feedback once from someone who used to work in my organization:

“Patty, when I worked for you, I was Superman”

Ever since then, I’ve thought that to be a pretty good measure of how I am doing as a leader.

What more could you want than for your people to feel like super-heroes? Powerful, capable, trusted, respected, and motivated to do big things.

Change your idea of communication to conversation

One of the main ideas that ran through the webinar and is fundamental to true engagement is Conversation.

Many leaders make the mistake of thinking that communicating their strategy is going to cause forward movement.

Just because you said what the strategy is, doesn’t mean that your organization will suddenly optimize itself to do the right things to implement it.

The only way to know that your strategy has taken hold is if you hear your organization talking about it among themselves without your involvement.

In the webinar, I shared many ideas for how to make lively bottoms-up and peer-wise communications happen more naturally.

When people are talking, they are engaged.

Get the crap out of the way

Annoying things often overlooked as not being huge problems, or just as being chronic, non-negotiable challenges in the environment, are very damaging to motivation and engagement.

As leaders we need to stay aware of the persistent, annoying stuff that gets in the way or our teams.

This can come in the form of negativity, uncertainty, unmade decisions, changing course too frequently, broken processes, too many bad meetings… The list is endless.

As leaders we need to be always vigilant about searching out chaos and obstacles and eliminating them from the environment.

Work is hard enough without letting unnecessary things fester that make it worse.

This webinar is loaded with valuable resources

This webinar will give you many ideas for creating the right kinds of communications and conversations, as well as how to make the changes you want to see more tangible motivation in your organization and environment.

And it includes worksheets and templates for creating conversations, decorating the change, employee led communications, and for listening and sharing information with key stakeholder groups.

Members: Download this webinar for free.

Non Members: You can purchase this individual webinar or podcast (links below).

More, useful webinars for motivating your team:

As a member, just around this topic of increasing engagement, you can also get these additional webinars for free on:

So if you are not yet a member, you might as well join and get them all for free!

Join Now
Join Now.

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USE CODE: ENGAGE
AT CHECKOUT TO SAVE $30 ON YOUR MEMBERSHIP

Let me be your mentor

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Members of the Azzarello Group program for Professional Development basically get me as their mentor.

Every month you get new insights and tools in the form of these webinars, as well as the chance to call into a monthly members-only coaching hour where you can get direct personal coaching from me.

People tell me that membership gives them a totally new way of thinking about their career, getting promotions, solving difficult problems with bosses, peers, employees, and other annoying people, communicating better, being more influential, becoming a stronger leader, and enjoying their work more. I love to hear this, and I love to help!

If you join now, you’ll not only get this webinar, but all the other webinars in the Member Library.

AND you’ll get the opportunity to participate in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls with me.
Check out what we talk about.

AND as a member you’ll get to download your copy of the Career Year of action Guide (a $30 value) for free.

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

TODAY ONLY
USE CODE: ENGAGE
AT CHECKOUT TO SAVE $30 ON YOUR MEMBERSHIP

Join Now
Join Now

high engagement

Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


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

Make People feel like Super-heroes: MondayMOVE Idea


superhero move

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: Make People Feel Like Super Heroes

“Patty, When I worked for you, I thought I was Superman.”

I got that message recently from a former employee. It was wonderful to get that message. But additionally, those 10 words sum up for me, in a pretty profound way, what I believe being a good leader of a high performing team is about.

He continued… “I have occasionally reflected on why that was. Not sure I know all the answers, but the things I do know are that the environment was real, the energy was high and the crap was low.”

If you set out with the goal to create an environment where your people can feel amazing, you’ll be on a really good track.

A great measure for your own leadership is: How many of my people feel like super-heroes?

The simple approach is this:

Share power. Hire top people, give them big work, support them, step back and let them be amazing. Don’t just delegate work. Delegate power. Let people make decisions and solve problems. Let them do great work they can be proud of, and help them get recognized for it. If you hire top performers, show them trust and respect, and make sure they get the credit, they will move mountains for you. Get out of their way!

People like to be amazing. Let them.

Read MOVE

I’m really excited to share important ideas about genuine employee engagement 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
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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

Are you a good manager?



This month’s webinar was on the topic of Are You a Good Manager?

If you missed it, you can download the recording.

are you a good manager

Are YOU a good manager?

This is a special and really important webinar. There is nothing you can do to improve the bottom line of your business more than to make sure that all your managers are good managers. (some research on this)

But what makes a good manager?

I spend a lot of time on this topic. Through my workshops with clients I help educate and motivate their leaders to think and work more strategically, improve their management skills and to develop a strong personal leadership strategy.

Also in my work I get to hear about a lot of really bad managers. People are suffering out there!

Where do you land?

The webinar:

I put together this webinar to give a practical overview of what makes a good manager.

It outlines the basics of great management and provides many ideas for action to help people become better managers. The webinar also includes definitions of the more intangible traits of great managers.

This is a very useful webinar to download if you want to:

  • Assess yourself or your team: How good are you at being a manager?
  • Get a clear outline of the intangible factors that make someone a great manager
  • Improve yourself, or train someone on your team to be a better manager
  • Create a development framework for managers in your company
  • Prepare for a job interview for a management position — at any level

This webinar: Are you a good manager? is one that I wish I had access to years ago, when I was learning how to be an effective manager and leader of people.

I had to learn this stuff through many years of trial and error! I’m happy now, to be able to share what really works with you.

Members of Azzarello group can download this webinar for free.

If you are not a member, you can learn about membership or Join Now.

Join Now

What the webinar covered:

1: People: Get the intangibles right

Being a good manager, first and foremost, is about people and team. It’s about building the right team, fit for a clear purpose, and enabling and motivating the individuals and the team to function well.

I had an employee who worked in my organization years ago send me a note that said, “When I worked for you I felt like superman”.

Wow. You can’t say it better that than. So that has become my measure.

A good manager will make their people feel like super-heroes.

There are specific things you can do that build trust, empowerment and motivation. We talked about ways to delegate and to make sure that people feel that their work is important and recognized.

2. Strategy and Execution

So many executives tell me that they need their managers to take more proactive ownership of problems and opportunities.

They need their managers to think and work more strategically. They need them to personally step up to solve problems and lead improvements without being asked or directed.

Good managers also step up and lead the stuff no one else is seeing.

Great managers know that they need to think beyond what they are working on and take a bigger view of the problems that are presented to them. The webinar covered specific questions and techniques to do this.

3. Improvement

Of course, predictable execution is important, but a big part of being an effective manager is to make sure that the team also develops. We talked about how to make sure you lead your team to get better at what they do over time.

If you only deliver, but don’t increase the capability of your team, you are not doing your whole job as a manager.

4. Credibility and Team Brand

Managers also need to be effective spokespeople for the business and their team. A manager can not opt out of communicating. They need to find productive ways to share the value of what their team delivers.

A good manager is always sharing relevant information and building broad support for their team.

A Manager’s Checklist

This webinar provides an excellent checklist for any manager to rate how effective they are being, and to find out where they can improve.

It is a great tool for a development plan, OR to prep for an interview.

This webinar is loaded with valuable resources.

It includes the outline of what it really takes to be an effective manager, as well as specific “manager actions” in 10 key areas, about how to do it.

And it includes worksheets and templates on delegating, prioritizing, negotiating, communicating and performance management.

Members: Download the webinar for free.
Non Members: You can purchase this individual webinar or podcast (links below).

More, useful webinars for managers!

As a member, just around this topic of improving your management approach, you can also get additional webinars for free on:

So you might as well join and get them all for free!

Let me be your mentor

Members of Azzarello Group basically get me as their mentor.

Every month you get new insights and tools in the form of these webinars, as well as the chance to call into a monthly members-only coaching hour where you can get direct personal coaching from me.

People tell me that membership gives them a totally new way of thinking about their career, getting promotions, solving difficult problems with bosses, peers, employees, and other annoying people, communicating better, being more influential, becoming a stronger leader, and enjoying their work more. I love to hear this, and I love to help!

If you join now, you’ll not only get this webinar, but all the other webinars in the Member Library.

AND you’ll get the opportunity to participate in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls with me.
Check out what we talk about.

AND as a member you’ll get to download your copy of the Career Year of action Guide (a $30 value) for free.

Membership is a great resource (and a steal at $179 for a whole year) to help you advance your career.
And if you join before February 6, your membership will only cost $149!

Join Now

Other Options:

Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)


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

Commitments, Deadlines & Employee Motivation



This month’s webinar was on the topic of Motivation, Commitments and Deadlines.

If you missed it, you can download the recording.

motivation deadlines

This is a very useful webinar to download if you want to:

  • Get your team executing better, and more consistently
  • Become more comfortable discussing and sticking to deadlines
  • Learn how to enforce consequences without de-motivating people
  • Choose the right measures that make success and failure very clear
  • Have the right (non-emotional) conversations when expections are not met

Why organizations don’t deliver on time

The simple truth is that many organizations don’t deliver on time because there are no consequences for not delivering on time.

Many managers find the conversation to confront the missed expectation uncomfortable so they tend to avoid it.

Or they think that calling people out on failing to deliver will be demotivating.

Deadlines are motivating

Deadlines are motivating when they are set properly and clearly, because it gives everyone an understood goal to shoot for.

Also, deadlines are motivating because they reinforce the fact that the work is important.

If your team fails to meet a deadline and you don’t address it, THAT is demotivaing because:

1. It makes people feel like their work doesn’t matter
2. It sends the message that “meeting deadlines isn’t important around here”.
3. People who ARE meeting deadlines start to belive there is no reason to work so hard

Communicating before, during and after

It’s very important as a leader to be really clear about deadlines and measures, and communicate about them before, during, and after the date has arrived.

We talked about how having the right kind of very clear measures actually makes the conversation about missing them much more comfortable and straightforward.

If you define the measures the right way, and committ to the ongoing conversation, you never have to have an uncomfortable, personal confrontation. You are instead discussing clearly agreed data, and simply having a practical discussion about what happened.

Good and bad habits

Organizations that take the time to develop the right, good habits, do better at execution.

Leaders can’t expect their team to value execution if they don’t manage the smaller habits in a way that shows “we are serious around here”.

Things like tolerating people being late to meetings, or not closing the loop on communications sends a message that “We do not care about excellence here”.

We talked about the common small corporate crimes which re-inforce bad habits, and ultimately put important programs at risk.

As a leader you have the chance to create the enviornment. Through your behaviors and habits, you can set the expectations for a high level of quality in the work, and for the execution and follow-up. And it’s really important that you do this on purpose.

What the webinar covered:

This webinar covered how to develop the key habits and communications in your team to keep everyone focused on on-time delivery and execution.

We talked about:

  • How to increase motivation for meeting deadlines
  • The important role that failure plays and how to deal with it
  • The right habits and the wrong habits to fuel quality execution
  • What you should be doing in staff meetings other than reviewing status
  • How to get better at the boring and required stuff to keep things on track
  • And more…

Worksheets

The worksheets included in this webinar are:

  • Define mid-term measures template
  • Timeline for communicating
  • Improving habits – team brainstorming
  • Checklist: How to use staff meeting time (not on status!)

Get the webinar now

Member Free Download

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

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

BECOME A MEMBER NOW

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

So you might as well join and get them all for free!

Additional benefits for members

Additional Q&A

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.

Become a Member

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

Other Options:

Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)


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