Managing your personal power supply

The Spin class was about to begin. Gayle, the instructor, stated, “I lost power yesterday.” She said she was in her home when suddenly, a loud noise was heard and her electricity went off. We stretched, continued a light conversation and launched into a rigorous routine. I wondered during the class, “How many times, as individuals, have we lost power in our lives? Did we give it away or was it taken from us? Are there certain situations or individuals who cause us to lose power? Who are they and why does this happen? What are the early warning signs before there is a loss of power?

The loss of power is readily detectable. You have that feeling of loss of confidence, which is demonstrated by your body language, vocabulary and actions. Many times the loss of power at home or at work may come as a surprise. However, just as in nature there is a flash of lightning or thunderclaps before a storm, you can rely on certain indicators as precursors to a storm. You can anticipate someone’s presence, behaviors, as a good sign that a storm and potential power loss is on the way.

We should be aware of the signs of losing power and fortify your defenses. This will require us to increase our competence, confidence and network of individuals who will cooperate with us in our efforts to enhance our power position. There are times when we lose power and look around us and everyone seems to have theirs. What can we do to maintain or regain our power during a power outage? Power outages may be due to:

  1. Burnout
  2. Lack of confidence
  3. Power drainers
  4. Power mongers

Burnout

We can lose power by expending too much energy. We may fail to prioritize and try to do too many things at once. Processing too many projects at one time will lead to an increase in stress. Lack of sleep and irritability may negatively affect your disposition. You may become moody and easy to anger. Our lives are running at many revolutions per minute (rpm’s). We create to do lists (TDL’s) to keep track of our obligations. To do lists are getting longer and serve as a repository of unlimited tasks of varying priorities. We may fail to rank the items or every item seems to be important, which will lead to none of them being important. If we don’t put a filter on the funnel, we will be overwhelmed. This state of overload will lead to burnout, a breakdown and a loss of power. You must realize that some items on your list may not be covered or should be delegated or deleted.

Lack of confidence

Sometimes lack of confidence can lead to a loss of power. You may be faced with the possibility that you are not as good as you think you are and are afraid that others will discover your shortcomings. A way to address this fear is to conduct a self assessment of your skills and abilities. Be honest with yourself. You should relentlessly study your craft until we are an expert in your field. This may require study and validation which will give you the necessary credentials to ward off any challenges. If you lack confidence or courage you may doubt your abilities and lose the power of conviction needed to be successful.

Power drainers

Some people exist as leaches in the workplace, at home and wherever you engage in relationships. They will drain your power through constant complaining. Negative thoughts and the complaints will drain your energy supply. Their negative disposition and complaint oriented disposition puts everyone in a bad mood. They are not satisfied with anything and they never bring a solution to the myriad of problems they detect. When they enter the room, you can feel the life being sucked out of the place. Engagement levels seem to go down and the level of interaction and cooperation is reduced. The focus is on the speed of ending the meeting and getting back to work away from this malcontent.

The power drainers are time wasters. They do not respect time. They will barge into your office or workspace and tell you the latest gossip and shortcomings of the organization. Many power drainers have a running conflict with their peers and want you to come in as a peacemaker, which is time consuming and emotionally exhausting.

Power mongers

Power mongers are perpetrators who like to hoard power and use it over people based on their level of influence or authority. They will take the power away from you in a meeting. If you have the floor in a meeting they will ask the questions to shift the emphasis to them. I attended a meeting where one participant had more handouts on my subject than I did and spent the meeting time explaining their handouts which took away my power and control of the meeting. The better preparation and communication skills may address some of the issues of the power mongers.

The manager who asks you to do something because they said it does everything to shut down questions from the meeting attendees. Power mongers also work by using intimidation to get results. They will level threats at people who do not complete assignment correctly. A power monger will embarrass people in front of their peers. They may do this deliberately to show who’s the boss? A new manager at a paper recycling plant announced to his employees that he wanted them to fear him. He went on to exercise this management style as an egocentric power monger.

A power monger believes that information is power and takes this concept to the extreme. They delegate information sparingly. A manager had access to updates from the home office that would have been useful to one of his subordinates making a presentation. Rather than call him off to the side before the meeting and provide the updates, he strategically interrupted during the meeting with the latest news from headquarters. You may need help in dealing with a power monger, who negatively uses power. This can be done by working with mentors, advocates and power brokers. These individuals have the wisdom, insight and influence to assist you in relating to the power mongers.

Power brokers

Powerbrokers are individuals who use power effectively to get results. These individuals should be utilized and studied in order to gain their assistance. You want to use their techniques to minimize personal power outages. These individuals can be identified and cultivated at work, networking groups, referrals from their contacts and through personal introductions.

Work with powerbrokers to increase your confidence; improve your influence skills and knowledge of your area of interest and expertise. Conduct a personal assessment; improve your communication skills and your knowledge of your subject. Your objective is to isolate the individuals and circumstances that drain your power and counteract their affect on you. This will enable you to be stronger and effective in harnessing your power supply and minimizing instances where you lose power.

Copyright © 2016 Orlando Ceaser

5 Self Restraining Tendencies (SRT’s) That Can Hurt You

We are human and therefore, have idiosyncrasies, nuances and eccentricities that come with our personalities. Many of these unique characteristics position us for survival and success. But some of these peculiarities are counterproductive and are detrimental to our growth. I will call them self restraining tendencies or SRT’s. They are not necessarily life-threatening, but they may serve as impediments to development.

SRT’s are indigenous to human beings. They may be formed by life experiences and thoughts and subsequently create insecurities. They may be pseudo-defense mechanisms to allegedly protect us. SRT’s may be categorized as bad habits that may hold us back, restrict growth or work against us. How do we know we have them? Self assessments and times of reflection can increase self awareness and reveal SRT’s, as we examine our lives and impact on others. Additionally, we may receive the gift of honesty from a friend through candid comments. Constant feedback from co-workers, parents and peers can also be useful by adding to our enlightenment. But, we must be objective, receptive and appreciative of their candor.

5 Self Restraining Tendencies (SRT’s)

  1. Procrastination
  2. Poor communication skills
  3. Negativity mindset
  4. Toxic people skills
  5. Lack of Integrity

1. Procrastination

It is interesting to learn that many people are struggling with procrastination. The act of postponing things until later is not intellectually difficult for people to understand. They know that something should be done immediately and to postpone will have consequences. But, nevertheless, they still will delay until later, that which should be done today.

We recognize that we may not feel like doing something right now or we have awarded a greater priority to something else. If we continue to kick the can down the road or delay the inevitable, we will continue to waste time and effort and increase the amount of stress in our lives.

Lisa was interviewing for a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She felt very comfortable with the interview. The interviewer asked her about her number one shortcoming. She responded, “I am a procrastinator. I get things done, but sometimes it takes me a while to get started.” Procrastination was her Self Restraining Tendency, but the interview may not be the right place to disclose this particular self restraining tendency.

2.  Poor communication skills

Communicating is something we do every day. It is the currency by which we interact with people in order to state our ideas, convey instructions and build relationships. Those among us, who communicate effectively, actually have an advantage at school, in our careers and in relationships. If we are hampered by poor communication skills, our effectiveness is restricted. This self restraining tendency, like the others featured in this article, must be identified and corrected.

Poor communication skills could be non verbal or verbal to include written, body language and group presentations. Ask yourself, “Am I plagued by poor communication skills? Are there aspects of my communication ability that are hindering my progress?” Conduct a self-assessment. Diagnose your communication ability to see if there is a deficiency. You may seek to solicit feedback from respected sources and trusted friends and colleagues to see if they can identify areas that require improvement. When the SRT is disclosed, a change management process should be initiated. However, rather than go through multiple steps to change we should go directly from denial to acceptance and put a plan in place to correct the SRT.

3. Negativity Mindset

People who have a negativity mindset are not necessarily the individuals who look at the pros and cons of every situation. I am speaking of the people who like to rain on the parade. When the entire group has decided to move in a positive direction, they are the naysayers who constantly focus on what is or could go wrong. They provide excuses rather than explanations. They seldom do anything but complain without the slightest contribution to positive constructive participation to change anything. 

4. Toxic people skills

The toxic people SRT is different from the poor communication skills mentioned earlier. Individuals prone to this tendency will use power to humiliate and intimidate in order to gain the upper hand or to create an environment of fear.

My son worked for an organization where the new boss actually said, “When I walk into a room I want people to fear me.” He wanted people to be intimidated by his presence. This attitude is supported by language and interactions that cause stress, a lack of trust, poor engagement and ultimately subpar performance. Individuals with toxic people skills may speak about people behind their backs, pit coworkers against each other and generate an atmosphere of tension.

People with toxic people skills may be cursed with the propensity to enter every interaction with a transaction mindset. They are constantly thinking what is in it for them, how can they beat the other person by any means necessary and how it can only help them succeed. This is prevalent in relationships where they only socialize or interact with people who can help them advance their position, today. 

5. Lack of Integrity

People with a lack of integrity are flawed in their relational and work performance. They utilize a winning at all cost or any cost approach to work and relationships. People with this tendency view the rules as an inconvenience, something for weak minded people, to be broken and circumvented whenever possible. Breaking rules is seen as a badge of honor, a necessary evil to give themselves the ultimate advantage toward victory.

Invariably, this SRT will cause the downfall of their career and reputation. Oftentimes, the integrity flaw does not manifest itself until well into a person’s career. Please find below a chart illustrating a natural career growth curve and the various points of indiscretion where a lack of integrity can doom a person’s career.

careergrowth

If a lack of integrity shows itself at the end of someone’s career, a lot of their positive contributions can be discounted and shrouded in suspicion, nullifying their reputation. If a lack of integrity revealed itself early in someone’s career, they may never have the opportunity to make significant positive contributions or to realize the potential present in their talents and abilities.

Ideally, we should establish self restraining orders or SROs for those character traits which are limiting our joy and effectiveness. The five self restraining tendencies listed or others should be addressed if they are a problem for you. They have the capacity to limit your effectiveness and keep you away from realizing your full potential in every segment of your life.

Copyright © 2016 Orlando Ceaser

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Lessons in Handling Differences

Reindeer

We are often started with the commercialization of Christmas. We are reminded to not lose sight of the reason for the season. This is valuable advice for Christians and others during this reverent time of year.

We grew up with Gene Autry Christmas classic of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. It is a delightful song, but also delivers a powerful message about encountering and handling differences. This song could start meaningful conversations about accepting others.

The song begins with a reference to the reindeer popularized in Clement Clarke Moore’s, “The night before Christmas”, also known as “A visit from St. Nicholas.” It begins with a roll call of Santa Claus’ reindeer that of course omits the name of Rudolph. As you recall, Rudolph was different from the other reindeer because of the luminescent quality of his nose. His nose was so shiny that it had either reflective qualities or it glowed like a light. This was enough to make him the object of ridicule and ultimately ostracism by the other reindeer.

This lack of acceptance is seen when children and adults are confronted with someone who is different from them. Our initial response is to make fun of the person and then to isolate them because of their characteristics, traits, heredity or idiosyncrasies. Many of us recall when we were young and begged for approval. Even to this day, there is something about us that makes us stand out from the crowd and the crowd lets us know it.

At work or is school, simply being the new person, the new kid on the block, the person who is an unknown, becomes a source for teasing or isolation. We often wondered,” if they would only get to know me, they would see that I’m just like them. “Rudolph was a reindeer, so he surely had a similar appearance, except for his nasal peculiarity. But suppose he was of a different color, from a different region of the country or had a different ability.  He would have manifested a difference that would have caused him difficulty until he was accepted. We usually ask the different party to fit in, when the real focus should be on them being accepted by the group.

Bullying is also a response shown toward those who are different. The song the does not indicate that Rudolph was bullied, but we can only assume that preventing him from “playing in any reindeer games” was not always accomplished in the most delicate manner.

The song does not tell us what Santa Claus was doing during the hazing or if he even knew about it. But, as a good leader, he engineered a very strategic response. He knew the talent and value of all of his reindeer. He evaluated the weather system for his next journey and realized he was going to encounter numerous blizzards. He knew that the solution to his problem existed among the ranks of his reindeer. He knew he had one reindeer that could help navigate the wintry delivery of toys to boys and girls around the world. This opportunity would be well received it if every reindeer benefited from his gift.

We can give Santa credit for waiting for the appropriate time to unveil strategy. He could have given the reindeer the opportunity to work it out amongst themselves, as so many people do in similar situations. They say such things as,” kids are just being kids, learning to navigate difficult situations will only make the recipient stronger and teach them valuable life skills and that which does not kill them will make them stronger, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche the philosopher. Maybe the reindeer performed similar initiation rites to others in the group that had other distinctions from their peers. Maybe they solve their treatment of Rudolph as being harmless and natural.

The defining moment came,” one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say: Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Many managers, leaders and parents look for the opportune moment to use the skills of their people. The right moment to show the world and the individual, that they recognize their true value and wish to share this value with every member on the team. We can only assume that in the fictitious conversation, Santa’s encouraged Rudolph and told him about the value of his difference. He made him feel that he was something special and should never feel that he was not important and did not have a place. I’m sure he made him feel like an important member of the team. He validated his value by asking him to lead the team by moving up to the front of the line.

You remember the happy ending to the song. “Then all the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history! We know that in real life, responses to differences may not always lead to a happy ending. Sometimes the individuals have lingering insecurity, damage to their self-esteem and underlying resentment from the initial exclusion. But, so often when the difference that is ridiculed or denied is used for the benefit of the group, the organization, institution, group or community becomes stronger. The people learn a valuable lesson about inclusion. We are hopeful that when the person is accepted they don’t become complicit and act in the same manner when they encounter other people who are different.

If we remember the Rudolph days of our lives and commit ourselves to prevent them from happening to others, we will maximize their future contributions to our teams, families, organizations and communities. We will perform a noble act when leading by example with the lessons learned from Rudolph the red-nose reindeer.

Please look forward to reading more about differences in my new book due by June 2016, Unlock Your Diversity Greatness. It is based on the premise that your uniqueness is not a weakness and contains strategies to utilize your talents, skills and abilities. More books in the Unlock Your Leadership Greatness series can be found at www.OrlandoCeaser.com or www.amazon.com.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

What do Ambitious People Want?

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Conversations with ambitious people who want to embark upon an ad venture leading to success, revealed at least six attributes that describe their appetite for achievement.

The attributes are access, acknowledgment, acceptance, appreciation, advocates and awards.

Access

Ambitious people want unfettered, unrestricted access to key people, resources, and information that can help their careers. The resources could be information, data, budgets and expertise. They know that relationships and networking are important to job acquisition and promotions. Salespeople think,” If I can see them, I can sell them.” Ambitious people want the keys to unlock the doors to opportunity.

People want access to key developmental opportunities, assignments and high visibility projects that will hone their skills and prepare them to assume additional responsibilities. Ambitious people want access to meaningful work and connections to mentors, coaches and the senior leaders who can ultimately influence their careers.

Acknowledgment

Ambitious people want to be acknowledged, once they are around and gain access. They want to be recognized and feel like a part of the team. Recognition as an attribute means simply to notice them, sense their presence and smile or nod in their direction. They want common courtesies through greetings and eye contact. People want to feel as if they are a part of something very special. It is not always necessary to remember their names, but that would be a nice touch. A smile in their direction while walking in the hallways signals to people that you know that they are there. No one likes to feel invisible, so when leaders find a way to acknowledge and identify someone it is very well received.

Acceptance

Everyone wants to be accepted and included. If a leader in the organization taps into a person’s need to be accepted they will feel valued, relevant and necessary. They will feel a part of something bigger than themselves and this will enrich their time at work. They can feel accepted when invited to functions after work and involved in social activities. When they feel welcome, they feel as if they belong. It is one thing for an organization to talk about inclusion, but the proof is in the daily practices of its members to involve everyone in activities beneficial to the organization.

When people are accepted, they feel as if they are wanted and this can contribute to higher statistics on engagement, productivity and job satisfaction.

Appreciation

People like to feel their work has value; is noticed and essential to the enterprise. When leaders or the organization finds ways to say “thank you”, people remember. A senior leader wrote a poem to his sales organization and received numerous positive responses from the team. In addition to the other awards they receive at year end, one person said,” My manager took to time to write something special to show his appreciation.”

Employees enjoy when managers demonstrate actions, not just words to prove that their people are their most important resource in the company. Programs are put in place that minimize workload and attempt to ease the tension between work and their personal life. It is often very difficult to achieve work/life balance. Some organizations refer to it as work life effectiveness or a blending between work and home. Feedback is given consistently, not just at the end of the year, to ensure that employees know where they stand relative to their performance expectations. They are told the truth in a fair and candid manner, which builds trust. Not only are people appreciate, but they are respected and their opinions are solicited.

Think of ways to say or show your appreciation. It can involve little things like thank you cards, hand written notes, bonuses, time off or special celebrations. There are numerous ways to show gratitude and these will go a long way to making people see that managers care about them as individuals.

Advocates

Ambitious people love to rise within the organization. They want to be known and supported by individuals who can advance their careers. They want mentors who will speak up on their behalf in personnel meetings. They want people to put in a good word for them when assignments are being discussed. They want supporters, cheerleaders, mentors, coaches and sponsors. When they are doing a good job, they want the managers to sing their praises from the rooftop. They want people to run interference for them on their way to other assignments. In meetings when people are quoting misinformation about their performance, they want someone present who will set the record straight.

Ambitious people love advocates. These individuals can have a positive impact on their financial status and their ability to be successful on the job. When individuals within the company and outside the organization learn about positions, advocates are invaluable to deliver positive comments about your personality, work ethic and capabilities.

Awards

Everyone likes to be rewarded and recognized when their performance meets and exceeds expectations. These awards can be in the form of pay increases, additional responsibility and kind words delivered in the presence of your peers. People want to feel acknowledged, accepted and appreciated. These three attribute can be considered awards for showing up at work and delivering results at a very high level. When access is provided and advocates communicate and celebrate your performance, awards in the form of certificates, pay increases, promotional opportunities and developmental assignments is a great way to show that the organization understands the importance of cultivating a motivated workforce.

The six attributes stated in this article answers the question, “What do ambitious people want?” An argument can be made that not only are the six attributes what ambitious people want, but everyone in the company want the same things. Everybody wants to be respected, rewarded and recognized, as well as to be supported and mentored. Ambitious people and those not interested in climbing the company ladder want to enjoy work and feel they are making a difference, as a part of something significant, where they are playing an important role.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Motivation from the Heart – Propel Yourself into Action

heart

We can gain valuable information about motivation by studying the heart and how it functions to keep us alive. During my training as a pharmaceutical sales representative, I received cardiovascular instruction to prepare me to sell a drug for treating heart disease. There were two components of my cardiovascular education I use to this day. They are the characteristics of the heart and the equation for blood pressure. To truly experience motivation from the heart we must demonstrate these qualities.

The heart has 4 main characteristics. They are as follows:

  1. Automatism – the heart can generate its own impulse to initiate the heart beat
  2. Contractility – the heart has the ability to contract, which is to do work
  3. Conductivity – the heart conducts and therefore, sustain electrical impulses
  4. Compensatory mechanism – the heart can create additional arteries to help supply oxygen to areas where existing arteries are blocked

Automatism

Just as the heart has the ability to generate a signal to get started, we should have automatism built into the fabric of our personality and value system. We need to be self starters. Our biological clock must have an alarm to awaken our desire to achieve. Additionally, we should align ourselves with people who also demonstrate this trait.

People with automatism instinctively start, regardless of the changes in their environment. The heart has an SA node, the sino-atrial node which is the network of nerves that are responsible for the impulse that triggers the heart beat. Each person is hotwired with his or her own hot button. What is your SA node? Do you know the triggers, switches and hot button to turn on your ignition to drive toward greatness?

The best workers are those who are doing what they love. They are using their talents and skills in a career or area suited to their interests and passions. Individuals in the right job utilize their values, beliefs and purpose to propel them to higher levels of performance. They have the spark that provides their own ignition.

Contractility

Contractility is the second trait, which is expressed as the ability to do work. The heart when faced with increased demand or workload will beat faster. We must work smarter and harder when the challenges are higher and more difficult. We need to spend the time and effort, exhibit the stamina and energy to reach our potential and expected outcomes. We don’t need people to carry around a motivational defibrillator to frequently jump start our attitude. Some employees are great workers when things are calm, but when the tension rises they fall apart and become less productive. We will not become those individuals, because we have lofty career goals.

Individuals may require help during an intermittent crisis in morale, but the matter should be temporary and should not be needed often. A motivational pacemaker, would be a drain on time and resources.  These pacemakers and defibrillators can become habit forming and lead to entitlement and an always need to be rescued mentality. The resulting motivation is effective only if the stimulant is always present. If the external stimulant is a manager or threat of disciplinary action, the long term motivational impact is doubtful.

Conductivity

Conductivity is the third trait. It is important because we must sustain the desire and commitment needed to do the work. The heart is like a battery. It can distribute power that is stored inside. The drive must be rejuvenated over time with the stamina and repetition to achieve results. The need for continuous external stimulation is not desirable. Conductive people are enthusiastic and easily identified by their ability to transmit this energy and enthusiasm to others.

Conductive workers are usually positive role models. They are the ambassadors of the purpose, mission and goals of the group. They lead by example and can be counted on to support the goals of the organization. We must be people who cause a positive chain reaction and a current of courage and collaboration to achieve results.

Compensatory

The heart’s compensatory ability is the fourth characteristic. It is shown by its ability to create new arteries to go around the blocked areas to deliver oxygen to the region of the heart that is not getting enough blood flow. When motivation is in short supply in the workplace, this compensatory mechanism has protective properties to keep people fired up and dedicated to reach the goal.

We are expected to compensate, adjust and adapt to forces within our environment. When barriers confront us while completing responsibilities, we need to think of creative measures to work around the obstacles. Innovation and flexibility are requirements in these changing times and versatile people with compensatory abilities are in great demand.

Work versus Resistance

The other major component related to the heart is the blood pressure equation. Blood pressure exists in the Circulatory System and serves as another way of illustrating the concept of motivation. Blood pressure in the body can be displayed in a simple equation.

CO (Cardiac Output) X TPR (Total Peripheral Resistance) = Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is a function of cardiac output (CO) and total peripheral resistance (TPR). CO is the work the heart performs, when it beats. The heart works against TPR, resistance in the arteries. If the heart works harder, this will increase blood pressure. If the resistance goes up, there will be an increase in blood pressure. The resistance is like the drag that an airplane experiences in flight. It is like the head wind that causes friction that could slow down the plane.

Work X Resistance =  Success (Quality of life, performance, results, etc.)

The equation can also apply to life. If quality of life or success is the goal of motivation, we can say it is influenced by the amount of work we do in the face of the internal and external resistance in our environment. If we want to improve our quality of life or success, we have to be motivated to do more work or reduce the resistance or competition.

Resistance is an obstacle and can represent people, environment, lack of resources, competition, peers, attitudes and other circumstances. As the resistance increases, we must counteract by working harder and more efficient. If we can reduce the resistance, we minimize the barriers to our quality of life, but we must still do the work.

Leadership should recognize and reward, motivated performance and establish an environment of positivity, optimism and development. Workers must ensure that their communication arteries and career arteries aren’t clogged with bad habits, unhealthy attitudes (entitlement and negativity) and a failure to give their best performance.  We must also encourage each other to greater performance levels of excellence.

When we speak of motivation from the heart, the correlation between how the heart works and what is needed today is very strong. We must be heart smart in developing ourselves and the people around us. We should look to the heart and emulate the qualities of automatism, conductivity, contractility and compensatory mechanisms. We should also remind ourselves of the blood pressure equation and the relationship of work and resistance. We can influence success, quality of life, performance and results by affecting the quality and quantity of work we produce against the various levels of resistance.

Global Warming in the Workplace

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“It is getting hot in here.” Can you feel the heat? The heat is rising in workplaces around the globe. Competition is intensifying. Competition for customers, products, services and career opportunities is heating up. Heat is also known as pressure, when it flows from higher levels of management as edicts, high expectations and strongly worded challenges to the people in the hierarchical structure below. The heat also flows from peers, internal standards and the family values

The list of individuals sweltering under the blistering temperatures in organizations is increasing. Companies are falling by the wayside due to heat stroke and the casualties of progress. The business landscape is littered with the fallen logos and share prices of former titans of industry. Innovation and new methods of distribution have led to the demise of companies that could not adjust and keep up. Companies that were once household names, no longer exist. So, now the companies that are still standing, have survival paranoia hanging over their heads, as they reflect on the cost of failure.

Companies have restructured, attempting to do more with less people and resources. Survivors of downsizing are dealing with survivor’s guilt and an increased workload. When employees demonstrate that they can function with fewer co-workers, relief does not seem to be on the near horizon. Employees want to save their jobs, even if they are unfulfilled, because it is hard to find a new job in the current employment environment.

The heat at work is beginning to move into homes as tensions mount due to the lack of attention overworked individuals display on the home front. Schedules at home are equally chaotic and hectic and have become the new normal. These factors have created immense pressure on relationships. The heat is spreading like wildfire. The pressure of life and the heat of each day confirm that global warming is prevalent at home and in the workplace.

Promoting individuals to management, who are not well schooled in leadership, can negatively affect the environment. Veteran managers with too much on their plates can become impatient when they are under fire to produce. Employees who want to grow, but barely have time to catch their breath, because all of their time is task time and nothing is left for personal development. If there is no positive end in sight morale and engagement will become areas of concern. The thermostats within organizations indicate that engagement levels reflect the temperature and pressure of working in today’s climate.

When there is a problem or discrepancy between expectations and results, leadership may react by raining down heat or turning up the heat. Merely emphasizing this lack of achievement will also be seen as bringing on the heat. Heat really means high expectations. This terminology is well accepted in companies everywhere.

Leaders will exercise their positional and personal power to get results. Ideally, the manager may not let unproductive heat go through unfiltered to their people. They may stand in the gap and become the ozone layer for their people. This filtering philosophy will only let the productive, constructive and inspiring heat reach their people. This heat will cause the manager to hold strategy sessions to determine the reasons for the discrepancies and propel them to devise an appropriate course correction.

Brainstorming and strategy sessions will result in recommendations for getting on the right course. In makeshift war rooms, teams are working diligently to yield revised tactics. These new marching orders are the result of analyzing the strategy and competitive response, gathering data on customer acceptance and revising resource allocations. The successful implementation of strategy changes will hopefully put the team on the right track. The new results will please leadership and the entire team.

Ironically, whenever another problem occurs, the leaders believe the heat administered the first time was the reason for the change in behavior and production. Therefore, as part of a vicious cycle or continuous loop, heat is again acomponents3dministered until expectations are reached.

The astute ozone leadership practitioner will help his team establish an early warning system, with a feedback mechanism, to serve as indicators of impending change. This metric will alert them to changes or malfunctions in the strategy at the earliest possible moment to minimize any surprises. Veteran and new employees will receive training on strategy execution and how to assess progress to minimize problems in reaching their goals. They will know the early warning signs that strategy and tactics need to be adjusted.

Global warming within the workplace has a number of origins. Some of them are due to a direct reflection of new technologies and distribution channels, as well as the competitive nature of the most industries. It is also a function of the realities of the current lifecycles of products and organizations and the internal drive and survival instinct of employees.

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Ozone leadership can be further explored in the book Unlock the Secrets of Ozone Leadership. The book, keynote address and workshop espouse the five principles of this leadership model. The five components are directive, protective, corrective, effective and selective. When leaders have a mindset incorporating these five components they are more inclined to focus on developing people and developing the business. The implementation of these principles in the program would do its part to counteract global warming within your workplace.

Copyright © 2015 Orland Ceaser

Under New Management – A chance to decline or a chance to shine

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The sign has three words, “Under New Management.” We often see the sign in the window of a retail establishment. What does this sign mean to you? Does it conjure up images of change and great expectations? Are you saddened that a great institution will never be the same, gone the way of the dinosaur? Does it make you think hopeful thoughts about the future, casting aside the circumstances of the previous administration? Do you instantly wonder if new people with more money, resources, business acumen, talent and operational expertise, will make the business successful. Under New Management can bring opportunities, as well old problems and new obstacles.

Your opinion about an “Under New Management” sign is based on being connected to the previous management; as a patron or participant in their business. If you were dissatisfied with the prior regime, this sign may give you words of encouragement that things will be better. If you are on the inside, and not in the inner circle, this may mean greater opportunities for advancement. If you are on the outside, you are hopeful for a better return on investment or an increase in quality and customer service.

When new management arrives on the scene, there are new people to handle the day-to-day operations. The communications industry, especially radio, is notorious for bringing in new ownership, followed by new management. Radio personnel are often under the specter of change. When rumors start about a potential acquisition, panic leaps into the hearts and minds of everyone, except those personalities who view themselves as untouchable. These individuals, due to their notoriety, can be classified as employable, because of their ease of finding another job.

It is customary for most industries to experience change. Will that change be in products or services or the management structure, personnel or brand identity? In radio the change could be in their format? Will the station go from all news to a talk radio or country music format? What will the new manager think is the financially prudent format to recoup their investment? What changes could “Under New Management” bring to your company or industry? How could your life be changed?

“Under New Management” is a sign that could be hung after a merger and acquisition. Those in positions of power and leadership may worry the most. Many times the higher up you are in an organization the more worried you are of losing your job, status, influence, mentors and advocates. But, there are those on the outside of power, looking forward to the opportunity to shine. They want a clean slate, audiences before a new panel of judges.

Some of my greatest opportunities were, “Under New Management.” I recall making a speech before a large audience after a merger. I was approached by one of the sales representatives from Puerto Rico, excited about my message. She said,” I never knew you could speak like that! We have never heard you on the big stage before. Why haven’t you been on stage in this type of setting?” I smiled and thanked her, realizing that there was something special about the opportunities provided by being, under new management. There can be many career benefits brought on by a change in management. Ambitious personnel should strategically plan for a jump start, a new start to their careers and seize the new opportunities.

“Under New Management” could provide an environment where people can feel courageous enough to explore new areas. It could be seen as a chance to overcome mistakes made earlier in one’s career. New management may have a policy of mistake forgiveness, like the accident forgiveness features in some automobile commercials. It is true that negativity never gets amnesia in some organizations. It has a long memory for mistakes, even though the clarity of its memory may be very vague.

I spoke with the manager who applied for re-entry into her former company. She was cleared for rehire, but someone mentioned a problem they had with her almost 20 years earlier. He couldn’t remember the specifics, only that it was unpleasant. This company was under management, however there were lingering problems of old biases from the people they maintained.

New management can therefore, lead to the continuation of old stereotypes and biases from the remaining managers. It may also replace old unconscious biases with a new set of preferences and biases. But we must be optimistic and strive for the excitement and new energy to commit to build something new and magnificent. We must build an organization that allows us to make the most of the honeymoon period assigned to “Under New Management,” to impress upon everyone the desire and willingness to serve in order to achieve high expectations.

“Under New Management” is not the answer to all problems and it is incumbent upon everyone to bring their best and be hopeful that the environmental change will be a breath of fresh air. They must work to help provide fertile soil for people to grow to their fullest potential. They must work diligently to give the new managerial structure a chance to succeed and flourish.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Authenticity – From Impressionist to Your Authentic Self*

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The path to understanding people will lead to greater personal awareness. There are 4 roles you may encounter during your developmental journey. Several contain character traits and skills commonly associated with actors and other performers. The 4 portraits can be seen as roles played that can influence personality styles and overall performance. They are the impressionist, impersonator, imposter and the authentic self. Knowledge of these images and the ability to adjust to them will enable you to adapt and survive in business and social situations.

Impressionist

The impressionist likes to imitate or model someone they admire. They may copy their speech patterns, mannerisms, key phrases, behaviors or routines. The television show Saturday Night Live garners huge ratings during presidential elections. Their actors do a fantastic job with impressions of the political candidates. Actresses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s impressions of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton were performed to perfection and rave reviews.

People may accidentally or intentionally model character traits that are synonymous with someone else. Some will select a person and duplicate the way they make decisions or perform their jobs. Individuals may stand like them or speak like them and conduct meetings the way they do. Additionally, they may be drawn to someone’s excellence and decide to emulate a particular characteristic in order to make it their own.

There is a danger in randomly and haphazardly imitating too many people. A person may lose their own identity. Rich Little a famous impressionist who made a living imitating famous entertainers once said, “I have done so many impressions I sometimes forget what my voice sounds like. It is true that we are a composite of many people but we must be strategic and systematic and how we inculcate their traits into our personality. We must be consistent with our true nature and not forget who we are.

Professional development can be helped by utilizing the appropriate impressions. In the early days of my career I worked in the Sales Department, where I had to make decisions when my boss was on vacation. I would ask myself, “How would John handle this particular situation or what would John do if faced with the same set of circumstances?” I would use the same wording and try to deliver messages with the same tone, emphasis and authority, as I imagined John would do it. My impression of John’s decision-making was instrumental in my growth and development.

We are all impressionable and prone to mirror and match behavior. We assume these impressionist tendencies to cope with our environment. This is how we survive and grow. One of the side effects of our impressions is that we may be accused of kissing up to management or trying to gain special favors by being the teacher’s pet.

Impersonator

An impersonator is an impressionist who is totally immersed in a role. They may temporarily abandon their identity and put on another persona. You have seen female impersonators, Elvis impersonators, individuals who impersonate presidents and other political figures. They may go to great lengths to excel and playing the part. We hired a guest speaker who was an impersonator of former president Bill Clinton. He looked like him, spoke like him and had the similar mannerisms. We wondered if he naturally looked like the former president or were enhancements necessary to project that appearance. It may take tremendous sacrifice to stay in character.

Impersonators may eat, sleep, think and act like the person they are imitating. They may assume the person’s name in public. They lose their identity and put on the image and character of another. They will conduct their daily activities from the vantage point of how would that person perform an activity or live their lives. They may give up their own ideas and opinions to become the other person, thus paying tribute to their idol.

Organizations have been known to promote clones of their top executives. This is the epitome of advertising to their employees, the value of impersonating and projecting the corporate image.

You must be careful. Do not surrender your personality to play a role. If you abandon your key traits and characteristics to assume the role of another you have denied yourself the right to fully express your gifts. You cannot fool people into thinking you are the original and you will deprive the world of your authentic self. Remember, a copy will never be a superior representation of the original.

The use of the impersonator style may be due to the image that is rewarded in the organization. People reproduce what is rewarded and what the organization really wants to see. Being an impersonator could also be as innocent as not feeling safe or appreciated by the company. The use of the impersonator style is typically designed to gain a personal benefit. It is often used to please someone in power with your ability to pattern your behavior after their professional image. You may be seeking a mentor/protégé relationship. You are hopeful that they in turn will generously lavish you with special favors or recognition.

Imposter

The imposter is based on misrepresentation. They claim to be someone or something they are not. They present an image that is inauthentic, false or misleading. This is easy to see on the movie screen or in television shows where the person assumes the identity of a dead person or through examples of identity theft, where someone assumes another person’s identity to steal their money.

However, an imposter is difficult to see in business and in your relationships, especially if we want to believe they are who they claim to be. Hopefully, we find out about their deception before significant damage is done.

The imposter in an interview misrepresents their personal history. They may assume the personality of someone they think the employer is wishing to hire. They may profess credentials, such as degrees, skills or connections that are nonexistent. They present themselves with high integrity and character which are far from their real values and personality. The imposter is a liar and will do anything to fool you into thinking their façade is their true image or actual position on an important matter.

Years ago one of our offices on the West coast hired a person they were pleased to bring on board. They said she was intelligent, beautiful and articulate with an electric personality. When she arrived at the office to sign up for the company orientation they were surprised by her calm, demure and low keyed demeanor. She was introverted and had little to say, which was a concern since she had to make presentations to physicians. They felt something was wrong, but they couldn’t explain it.

At the end of the second day of her orientation she mentioned that she was going to meet her sister for dinner. She introduced her sister to the group. You guessed it. It was her twin sister. She was equally beautiful, articulate and intelligent with an electric personality. They wondered if they had hired an imposter. Most cases of imposters are not this dramatic.

When an imposter is discovered, justice is usually swift. The person is confronted, embarrassed and fired. Their reputation is ruined and many people may be hurt in the process. If you are tempted to pose as an imposter, remember, the results are rarely positive. The masquerade is seldom worth the pain and embarrassment when you are exposed.

Authentic Self

The authentic self should be the desired objective or personality style. You should be vigilante and remain true to your real character and true self. The authentic self is who we really are. It is true that we may model some of our behavior after the three earlier models. However, this is done to enhance not to misrepresent your authentic self.

We are a composite a combination of many factors woven together to form a distinct creation with the potential to achieve phenomenal results. If we feel threatened we will be reluctant to bring our whole selves to work because it may be used against us. This fear is a challenge to authenticity and may tempt us to be an impressionist, impersonator or imposter to ensure our survival.

You will find out that there is no substitute to being authentic. The refreshing satisfaction of fulfilling your purpose will grant you the peace you need to joy the success of the life lived to the fullest with integrity.

*Excerpt from Unlock Your Diversity Greatness, release date 4th quarter of 2015

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Pursuing Your Purpose in 2015 – a format for fulfillment

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The teacher arrived at the author’s booth at the convention. She perused the books and educational resources on the display table. She previewed the posters and listened to the motivational CD’s that were present. She turned to the author, looked him in the eyes and asked a poignant question,” Why haven’t I heard of you? Why don’t I know you? These resources are exactly the kind of help I need to work with my students.” This scene was repeated by a local television actor on a network show. He was on a program, with the author, speaking and mentoring to students at a high school. While waiting for the session to begin, the actor reviewed the author’s latest book. “Man, why haven’t I heard of you?” he said.

Most of us are not fortunate enough to be challenged to live out our purpose in this manner.  The situations are real and reflect a question we should ask ourselves. Have the right people heard of us? Have they been exposed to our purpose and message? The objective is not necessarily notoriety. But wants to know if we are doing what is required to pursue our purpose. Are we doing what is necessary so that a wide range of people can benefit from the talent and skills we have to offer? I attended a Big-Money Speaker conference conducted by my coach James Malinchak. He suggested that we could use our financial success as one way to determine the level of service we are providing to others. Therefore, if we are pursuing our purpose and utilizing a format or system for fulfillment, we should see this reflected in how we measure success or influence.

We should constantly work to pursue our purpose. This begins with the identification of why we are on this planet. This can usually be suggested in our talents and the passion that we have for certain activities. In my case, it is reflected in the dedication and persistence in spreading the word around the world about leadership, excellence, motivation and utilizing our gifts. My keyword for 2015 will be ubiquitous, which means to be widespread. But, widespread does not mean everywhere or to everyone, it means that I must be widespread within a targeted area of emphasis, within my niche. We can’t be all things to all people or we will eventually dilute our impact and burn out in the process.

We should develop a format for fulfillment which will include a system we will follow to reach our goals. This system or process will be followed routinely as a discipline focusing on our purpose. I created The Know System™ in my book, The Isle of Knowledge, as a way to stay focused on making the right decisions to reach your goals. Great coaches will tell us to pick a niche and focus our attention in that specific area.

We should be determined to be “Known in our niche and famous in our family.” We should work strategically within a targeted area to meet the key customers and prospects and make them aware of our products and services. This awareness could be from attending and running workshops and conferences, conducting podcasts and webinars, or writing articles and blogging. We want to be perceived as an expert in our given area. Therefore, writing a book on the subject, may be appropriate, to establish us as someone who knows more about the subject then most people.

To be famous in our family includes your intermediate as well as our extended family. Are our relatives aware of our job and our purpose? This awareness will enable them to ask questions out of curiosity and to increase their knowledge. They can be inspired by the way we live and come to us for career advice. Our extended family may include friends, acquaintances, business contacts and people we meet at networking events. Do they know who we are? Do they know what we stand for? Do they know our purpose and the products or services we provide? We can use this phrase as a reminder to use the influence we were placed on this planet to acquire and deliver. We must be driven to be known in our niche and to be famous in our families. This will push us toward our responsibility of activating our talent and using it so that we are fulfilled. Our niche and family members may be able to help us achieve our purpose.

I am the entrepreneur mentioned at the beginning of this article. The words stated by the teacher and the actor are being used as a mantra to drive my behavior and performance. I am committed to entertain, educate and inspire action in people to achieve outstanding results. This compels me to deliver the messages and develop the resources to enable people to do their jobs, pursuing their purpose and making a difference. I am hopeful that these messages and resources will help people unlock their leadership greatness and develop a format to fulfill their dreams and provide the level of service necessary to enrich the lives of others. Please contact me if you have any questions about the content of this blog post, my speaking topics and the motivational resources of Watchwell Communications, Inc. I can be reached at Orlando.ceaser@watchwellinc.com, www.OrlandoCeaser.com and http://www.watchwellinc.com.

 

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

The “A” Game Chronicles – Discover and deliver it

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How often have you heard someone say or someone is told to bring their “A” Game to the competition? They don’t say bring a game, but the capitalized “A” game. I wonder if people know what their “A” Game looks like. How often have they seen it? Would they recognize it when they saw it? I wonder if they have ever challenged themselves at such a high level that it brought out their “A” game. Then they would know what it looked like and could therefore, duplicate it upon demand. They are told to get an “A” for effort, but you need the results to back it up

Their “A” game is heavily in demand. “A” is for action or “A” is for achievement. “A” is for the highest performance. I knew managers who were never rated at the top performance tier within their organization. Yet many of these managers would distribute these ratings without hesitation. My questions were always two fold. First, “How could you?” and secondly, “Do you know what awesome looks like, since you never received the rating? The same applies to someone’s “A” Game. Do you know what it looks like and does a manager know when it has arrived and how to bring it out in the open? An accumulation of “A” games should lead to the highest performance ranking and rating within the group.

There are apparently different standards for an “A” game. I suppose it is in the eye of the beholder. What measuring device are you using for an “A” game? Your “A” Game could be a function of the following:

• Attitude – your disposition spells confidence and could cause your best performance to explode out of your potential.
• Awareness refers to self – awareness, for you are in touch with your physical and mental capabilities. Your emotional intelligence (EQ) involves knowledge of people and relationships. When combined with competitive knowledge and personal or self knowledge you create a climate for your “A” game to develop.
• Aptitude – (IQ) – intelligence referring to mental skill and thinking enhances by hours of hard work, reading and analyzing your performance and expectations.
• Alignment – consistent with goals
• Achievement focused
• Action oriented – execution, passion and initiative

What the “A” Game is not – pseudo “A” Game or false positive

• Avoidance – hiding from your best performance and abdicating to other work you should perform yourself
• Absent – missing and engaged in inaction when you are expected on the job. When people are depending on you.
• Awkward – uncoordinated, undisciplined due to a lack of practice and poor technique.
• Average – In the same level as others. Your “A” game should be a moving target. The best you have today should be better than yesterday and below the high bar, you have established for tomorrow. This gives you something to aspire to within the range of your potential.

In delivering your “A” Game on a bad day you may be slightly short and deliver an “A-“Game, which is an A minus Game. But this is a whole lot better than a negative “A” Game. For this is the polar opposite to your best performance. This is essentially an “F” Game which is not acceptable.

Everyone brings a game to the arena, but you should make sure that it is your “A” game; an awesome effort that leads to an astonishing performance.

Copyright © 2011 Orlando Ceaser