Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dealing with the parts of our lives and jobs that we put off because we hate doing it


For all of us there are pieces of our lives that we don't enjoy doing. It can be in our personal lives or in our jobs. These are the things that we put off, procrastinate on and allow to pile up and the longer we ignore them the more daunting it looks. Often when we do tackle what we don't like to do we are grossly inefficient at it. After all we are not motivated to get it done. For those who are normally disciplined it creates dissonance knowing that the pile of stuff accumulating in a corner of the office is unattended to.

Even when we are in our perfect job there is a percentage of our time (20 to 40%) that requires us to attend to things that drain rather than fill us. For me it is taking care of small details. At periods of my life I have had administrative assistants who loved the details (a great blessing to me). At other times I have had to do them myself. I just don't enjoy doing them so it is easy to put them off. For some it is phone calls, for others meetings where there might be conflict. Whatever it is, it is important to deal with it.

The key to this dilemma is to develop habits (actions done enough times so they become habitual) that help us overcome our aversion and allow us to stay on top of important details. I have several suggestions.

First, schedule regular time weekly, in a block, to deal with those things that you really don't want to do. One can get a lot done in a two to three hour block of time. The key to this is to focus completely during that time so that one gets as much done as possible. When finished you have the satisfaction of knowing that a great deal has been accomplished.

Second, schedule a short period of time each day for the things that need to be done immediately but which you would otherwise be tempted to put off.

Both of these should be in one's calendar and the more often we practice it the stronger the habit will become and the less aversion we will also have. In addition, the dissonance of undone work is no longer an issue and our tendency to procrastinate will be lessoned. It is, after all now a habit in our weekly and daily work.

Of course we can always put this off....


TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness in both the for profit and non profit sectors. He can be reached at tjaddington@gmail.com




Monday, January 16, 2017

Three meaningful gifts every leader can give away to their staff


Leaders come bearing gifts to their staff. They set the culture of the organization in positive and sometimes negative ways. The best leaders create a culture of clarity, development and optimism that we can accomplish our mission. All three of these are positive gifts to the staff they lead.


The gift of clarity is helping everyone be crystal clear as to what we are about and what our focus needs to be. The more sharply we can articulate our direction and focus, the more our staff can in turn focus their work! Focused clarity within organizations is not as common as one might think because it requires an enormous effort  by leadership to clarify their mission and an equally enormous effort to keep the organization focused on that mission. However, that clarity is a great gift to staff as they know what the goal is and where their energies need to be focused.



The gift of staff development is an indication of whether leaders are generous in seeking to help staff grow and develop or selfish in simply using staff for their own purposes. Think about the various work roles you have had over the years and ask the question, "did I leave that role with greater skill and success because someone intentionally developed me or was I simply left to my own devices?" Leaders have a stewardship responsibility to help staff grow, flourish and to give them opportunity to use their gifts fully. This is a truly significant gift and staff never forget the gift.



The gift of optimism is an attitude that together we can get our job done and accomplish our mission. A leader's optimism with their staff is critical in today's uncertain and competitive marketplaces. Optimism creates momentum while pessimism creates discouragement. Optimism married to a culture of teamwork and cooperation allows organizations to see results that no one could accomplish on their own. Regardless of whether a leader feels optimistic on any certain day, they give a gift to their staff when they choose to convey a positive attitude.

Every leader can give these three gifts to their staff - if they value their staff enough to do it.

TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness in both the for profit and non profit sectors. He can be reached at tjaddington@gmail.com




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In serving our customers it is often the little things that count the most


Serving our customers is a goal that every organization would say they have. And many organizations do it very well. But we often don't realize how the small things we do or don't do directly impact customer service. In fact, some of those small things don't even seem to relate to customer service - but they do!

Let me give an example. In working with an organization that does excellent work there is a common complaint. Email's between colleagues often do not get returned in a timely manner. Some not ever. But that is an internal matter, right? Not really! What seems to be a strictly internal matter which we often think does not matter has a direct bearing on the customer because how we operate and communicate internally either allows us to serve our customer well or not.

In the case referred to above there is a customer service department that deals directly with those served to solve problems and ensure an outstanding customer experience. This often means communicating with others within the organization. When there is no response or delayed responses they end up operating in the dark as to whether issues have been addressed or not. In addition, in the absence of information it is not possible for those responsible for the customer experience to ensure that breakdowns in that experience get addressed. So what is seen by some as unimportant (answering an email in a timely fashion) is actually very important in fulfilling the mission of the organization.

In most cases, it is the small things rather than the big things that allow us to serve our customers well. What seems insignificant to us may in the end be most significant in delivering on our promises to the customer.

TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness in both the for profit and non profit sectors. He can be reached at tjaddington@gmail.com