Recognizing and Compensating for BLIND SPOTS

The French refer to a blind spot as angle mort which literally means dead angle. Very apt indeed. 

There are at least 4 different types of blind spots.

Are you watching out for and compensating for each type?

Read on to be sure you are avoiding these visual and cognitive errors. 

Be on the lookout for these blind spots:

  1. Visual Blind Spot (literally): Do you check your mirrors or look over your shoulder before changing lanes while driving? In the USA there are 840,000 car accidents annually due to the visual blind spots that occur while driving. Most driver education teachers (back in the olden days) instructed us to look over our shoulder before changing lanes to prevent such “blind-spot” accidents from occurring.
  2. Blind to the Obvious (literally): Have you ever been unable to find your keys or cell phone, despite the fact that the item you were looking for is out in plain view? 
  3. Blind to the Obvious (figuratively): Has someone ever told you how remarkably helpful, insightful, or important your perspective or advice was to them? After receiving this lovely compliment did you think, “Wow, I thought that was so obvious.” If so, you were blind to your unique insight.
  4. Blind to Being Blind (figuratively): Do you have some behaviors that get you into trouble? I’ll share one of mine: I have a very difficult time asking for help. When I most need  help, I “forget” that requesting help is an option. Instead, I double-down on a preferred technique: WORK WORK WORK and don’t look up!

So, how can we compensate for, be prepared for, and overcome blind spots?

  1. Visual Blind Spot (literally): One obvious option to avoid this dangerous blind spot is to buy a car that compensates. Some cars have mirrors within mirrors while others have lights. Both options allow you, the driver, to “see” if a moving vehicle is lurking in your blind spot. Of course, you still need to be sure to check your mirrors!!
  2. Blind to the Obvious (literally): In the past, I lost my phone WAY too often. I usually found it on a bedside table, on my desk among papers, or nestled in the darkness under my car’s driver’s seat. I’ve improved my ability to know where my phone is by creating phone placement routines and sticking to them! Once I created habits for placing my phone in the same spaces, I unconsciously placed my phone in the most obviously remembered spots and could find my phone even if I couldn’t remember when I last had it. The “Find Your Phone” app is also a life saver. Problem solved. 
  3. Blind to the Obvious (figuratively): When we are blind to our own unique insights, it means we are undervaluing our strengths. As a Gallup Certified Strengths coach, I frequently see this occur. An example of this would be someone who has Individualization as a “Top 5” strength. This person is completely unaware that she connects to people by not only hearing their specific and personal stories but following up with specific questions. Compensate for this blind spot by knowing, owning, using your strengths DAILY. 
  4. Blind to Being Blind (figuratively): When we are blind to our own biases – biases of thought or biases related to behavior – we are in trouble. As a coach, I regularly see this occur when someone dives into one of his strengths without considering other options. The example above of working diligently instead of asking for help, is how my Achiever strength can sometimes be a blind spot. To compensate, I need to take a deep breath when I am feeling stressed. After calming myself, I may have a better perspective on how asking for (and graciously accepting) help might improve my situation. 

Nobody wants to be blindsided!

I hope these examples and quick fixes help you avoid the blind spots in your life.

Please let me know!

Want to Know the Secret to Live to 95?

 

What’s it take to be 95-years young? And more importantly, 95-years strong?

Read on to learn the delightful secrets of Geradline Corr.

Geraldine was born on March 12, 1926 in Chicago. She is 95 years old.

Two years ago she moved into a Northside Indy retirement community. The move enabled her to be closer to her youngest son and his family. Mike and Lee Corr are my brother and sister-in-law. I feel fortunate to have them as a part of my extended family and doubly blessed to gain Geraldine – or Gramma Corr – as part of the package deal.

I’ve known Geraldine for more than thirty years, but in the last two years – since this move – I have been able to see her more frequently. Over these 24 months, I’ve been awed by her positive spirit, her deep faith, her kind heart, her alert mind, and quite frankly her stamina. Hey, there have been nights when I’ve been out with a big family group, felt a bit tired, and realized that Geraldine was going to outlast me . . . again. Humbling.

Interestingly, within this same time period, I’ve watched the health of my own mother decline; I saw dementia set in. We lost my mom at a much-too-early age of 79.

So, these opening questions – about aging youthfully and with strength – are more than just passing queries for me. I care.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, I asked Geraldine if she wanted to learn more about her strengths. As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, I wanted – no, I NEEDED – to know what was keeping Geraldine so vital. She is as interested in the world and as interesting to chat with as any of my dear friends, despite being at least four decades older than most of them.

That afternoon, I walked Geraldine through the CliftonStrengths assessment, and her results fit her as perfectly as her favorite pair of Birkenstocks. See below:

  • #1. Connectedness – Geraldine’s faith is strong. She attends Catholic Mass daily and this has been her routine for at least the last 30 years. She says this time of prayer gives her “peace of mind and the ability to cope with life.”
  • #2. Consistency – Balance, fairness, and routine are important to Geraldine. She treats people the way she wants to be treated.
  • #3. Responsibility – Geraldine follows through on her commitments and remembers both what she says she will do and what you say you’ll do. I was a bit tardy in phoning Geraldine about my questions for this blog. My tardiness did not escape her.
  • #4. Positivity – Geraldine’s positive spirit is greatly impacted by her Connectedness strengths. She deeply believes there is a plan for all of us – even when things are difficult. She refuses to take on the negativity of others. Her Positivity will not allow it.
  • #5. Communication – While Geraldine is a great conversationalist, it is her listening skills that most impress me. She uses both to learn from people of every generation.

As a coach, I was thrilled to see how accurately these 5 strengths genuinely captured the delightful Geraldine. For her part, she felt the entire assessment process was affirming and allowed her “to be known and heard.”

As a strengths coach, I know there are no perfect “Top 5” strengths.

There is also no secret combination of strengths that will allow you to live to be 95 years old.

However, I am keenly aware that those who live and breathe the strengths they have are more engaged in the world. They live more fully. They live more youthfully and with more strength.

And Geraldine is proof of that.

Side note: I wanted to know if Geraldine was the oldest person to ever take the CliftonStrengths Assessment. I decided to ask around at Gallup. I shot off an excited email to Jim Clifton, Jon Clifton, Dean Jones, and Jim Collison. These guys put the all-knowing Chief Gallup Scientist Jim Asplund on the question, who said it’s impossible to know with absolute certainty . . . Gallup is unable to verify the age of assessment takers. However, he threw me a bone by commenting, “I think it is safe to say that Geraldine is in our ‘Top 5’ by confirmed age.”

My #1 Competition strength was happy to hear the news.

There are New Ways to Lead People: Want to FRESHEN Up?

Managing people is harder than ever.

COVID didn’t just change the world but also changed the DNA of our workplace in many ways. This new environment presents challenges with competing priorities from an increasingly dispersed workforce.

Our leaders must change as well to lead effectively in this new era.

Leadership practices – ones that rely on decades-old business disciplines that no longer fit today’s ever-changing world – are not going to inspire, motivate or build and maintain a culture of trust.

In the past, leadership and management have been measured on output and profit margin. Whatever it took to succeed was acceptable as long as the goal was achieved.

Today, employees are looking to leadership to embrace a spectrum of social and environmental needs and encompass specific values and ethics.

Well, now what?

Leaders need to think in new ways.

Leaders need FRESH ways of thinking.

Join me for a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, September 22nd at 12 noon (EST) to explore FRESH leadership practices that will impact you and your team TODAY.

Information shared in my book,  Fresh Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team, will be used as a guide (and possible future resource) to navigate this new terrain.

“FRESH Leadership” provides a road map for teams who are striving to learn more about each other’s deepest motivations and then cheer each other on to never-before achieved successes.

How? Using five key concepts:

  • F-FEEDBACK – Good communication revolves around the ability to give and receive feedback in a productive manner that will promote growth and change.
  • R-REWARD – a paycheck isn’t enough anymore to recruit and retain invested, inspired employees. They are looking for an intrinsic reward that comes from doing meaningful work and performing well.
  • E-ENGAGEMENT – Chances are you did a commendable job addressing employees’ basic needs (safety, stability, and security). Still, now you need to build engagement at work by supporting your employees and meeting them where they are now.
  • S-SERVICE – Serving your people in an empathetic, authentic way; putting your employees’ needs first.
  • H-HUMAN CONNECTION – Employees need to know that their manager or boss is a real person.

I hope to see you there!

Although it’s complimentary, you must register to reserve your spot: https://bit.ly/3sKHrmE

 

 

Make Your Habits Work FOR You

Everyone has habits. Some work for us. Some work against us.

Creating habits that improve our lives, our businesses, our communities, and the world around us is a worthy endeavor. Agree? Want some tips for changing your daily habits?

First and foremost, please recognize that we control our habits . . . not the other way around. 

For example, let’s say (fictitiously, of course) that I’m tired in the morning and have the habit of swinging by my local coffee place to grab an iced caramel macchiato. 

This delicious dose of caffeine and sugar may serve as my “reward” for going into work and, simultaneously, give me a perky disposition. 

By the time I arrive at my workplace, my mood is (at least temporarily) enhanced and I’m ready to start my day. 

This can be a hard habit to break because there may be more than one cue that is triggering this behavior and multiple rewards experienced! 

Is the indulgent coffee stop occurring because:

  • I’m tired and need caffeine and sugar to get me going?
  • I’m not ready to go to work and want to extend my commute time? 
  • I like chatting with people at the coffee shop and consider this a social stop as well as a coffee stop?
  • The special coffee – made just the way I want – makes me feel cared for and I need that some mornings?
  • All of the above? 

Hey, it’s complicated. 

But it is under my control. 

In order to feel more powerful and self-determined in the face of a compelling habit, I need to determine if it is working for me or against me. 

Let’s say, I’m actually ok with the expensive and sugary coffee habit as a treat, but think it has gotten out of control.

Once a week, I can “treat” myself, but going every DAY is insane. Of course, making this rational decision is not the same thing as actually taking action. 

How can I curb this strong habit? 

I need to create a new mindset – one that is consistent with my strengths – which helps me to create new habits that work for me and improve my world. 

  1. Mindset shift: I am not Maximizing my time, my money, or my nutrition with this bad habit. Excellence is my goal. This habit is wasteful. 
  2. Mindset shift: I am not Achieving as much as I could each morning by taking this long detour to stop for coffee. 
  3. Mindset shift: I’m high Competition. In the past, I  convinced myself that the coffee was giving me “an edge.” Moving forward, I must realize that this coffee habit is hurting my overall health and long-term wellness.

I need to create new (healthy and helpful) habits that ignite a new habit loop.

  1. New habit: I want to have habits that benefit others. I can harness my Significance strengths to shift my thinking about how this small change in my life can greatly impact another person’s life. What needy cause could benefit most from my “weekly coffee money?”
  2. New habit: I like to jump in, get things going, and get others on board with my Activator strengths. What if I got a few of my work friends to join me? We would raise a considerable amount of money if we pooled our money and created a “weekly coffee money” fund! Each week the biggest contributor to the fund could choose the non-profit who benefits! (This should also trigger my Competition strengths!)

Of course, the mindset shifts and new habits look different for each person depending on their strengths. What’s important is that these changes are consistent with way each person naturally thinks about things and creates more meaningful habits. 

Make sense?

Do you have a habit you love to hate? A guilty pleasure you’d like to break? Share!

Giving Back Is Fun: Thank You Mickey’s Camp

I attended Mickey’s Camp for Women this year.

Want to know what I learned there?

Here are the BIG ah-ha’s (least to most surprising):

  • This amazing event is everything it’s cracked up to be! This was my first year and I’m honored to say I was BOTH a presenter and a camper. (It’s hard to live up to hype . . . it did . . . but if you’d heard about this great event, I bet you’re not surprised!)
  • Martha Hoover (Patachou, Inc. restaurateur extraordinaire) is a FANTASTIC KEYNOTE SPEAKER. (Ok, this is not a huge surprise, right?)
  • Disc golf is actually more like golf and less like frisbee than I thought. (I’m thinking this is a medium surprise.)
  • The kangaroo boots are a KILLER workout. Seriously. (Surprised? Yes, it’s true! Great for your core, your balance, and quads!)
  • Mickey’s Camps (for men and women) have donated more than $3,000,000.00, to well-deserving local-to-Indy charities since it’s inception 20 years ago. (The gals camp started 14 years ago.) WOW!!! HUGE SURPRISE AND SO IMPRESSIVE!!!!

A BIG thank you to the great sponsors, the fantastic Maurer family (especially Mickey Maurer), and the amazing non-profits who were chosen this year:

  • Bradford Woods
  • Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Lutheran Child & Family Services—Impact Program
  • Women’s Fund of Central Indiana

What an inspirational event.

Half-Way Through 2021 . . . Checking-in on My Goals

Hope you had a fantastic long weekend! Are you rested, ready, and excited to tackle the second half of 2021?

Yes!! It’s half-time!! On July 2, we marked the official ½-way point of 2021. 

TRUTH: I’m a bit underwhelmed with my 2021 efforts in personal development. 

FOLLOW-UP FACT: As a strengths coach this is a BIG issue. 

REMEDY: Gotta dig in, regroup, set some fun goals, and go. 

I found the attached handout “My Goals for 2021” online while I was digging-in and regrouping. 

It’s quite obviously a tool created for children. I adore it: simple enough for a child but sophisticated enough for an adult. 

Who doesn’t need to:

  • Try something NEW?
  • Learn something NEW?
  • Visit a NEW or FAMILIAR destination?
  • Read for fun? 

I’m a firm believer in the idea that growth of any kind makes us better. However, I’m also aware that adults (me included!) can resist learning new things. It’s easier to do the things we are skilled at and knowledgeable about. 

But we shouldn’t ever take ourselves too seriously. Right? I appreciate the juvenile decorations (hats and confetti!!) on this worksheet, since it reminds me that “hey, kids are supposed to do these things, why shouldn’t adults?”

Wish me luck! I’m excited to:

  • TRY: eating at new restaurants and cooking new recipes;
  • LEARN HOW TO: play pickleball;
  • VISIT: some favorite places; and
  • READ: more fiction and nonfiction books. 

Are you game? How can you fill 2021 with new learning, mini-personal challenges, and FUN?

Let me know if this sparks your interest. 

 

Emotional Intelligence . . . in Animals and in Teams

Is your team as emotionally intelligent as a herd of goats?

Need a moment to consider this intentionally odd and humorous question? Here’s some background info that could help you make a more accurate assessment.

The quickie definition of emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand emotions found in oneself and others. (Daniel Goleman is the FATHER of emotional intelligence, and his book Working with Emotional Intelligence is terrific.)

Interestingly, many non-human animals recognize the feelings of others in their group.

Goats, elephants, chimps, and dogs are mammals that respond to the emotions they sense.

These mammals can HEAR and SMELL the contentment or anxiety of others in their group. For example:

  • when a goat twin was separated and lost, another goat slept with the grieving twin who remained behind;
  • when elephants sense distress, they are able to sooth others using vocal sounds (emitting small chirps);
  • when chimps see snares and poaching traps, they dismantle them to save other animals.

These small but meaningful actions show care and compassion.

How can we apply similar caring actions to our HUMAN TEAMS?

  • Sincerely ask how your work mates are doing when stressful life events are experienced within their immediate family. Tell him or her that you are thinking of them during this time.
  • Remember to look for the many different cues that could be signs of anxiety and/or sadness in your colleagues. Unlike many animals, humans cannot smell fear, sadness, and anxiety. However, we can look for small changes in behavior.
  • Consider how you can save your work friends from disaster. How might you set others up for success or redirect them around some of the mistakes you’ve experienced? Altruistic behaviors go a LONG way to create meaningful workplace bonds.

How frequently does your team engage in the above activities?

Always = GREAT JOB!! Keep up your team’s emotionally intelligent work!

Sometimes =  Ok, but improvement is possible. Dig deep and model more of the RIGHT behaviors. Create an emotionally intelligent trend!

Never = Shoot. Your team needs help getting the ball rolling. You should look to an outside source for perspective and insight.

Increasing your team’s EI can transform your organization – from the inside to the outside.

 

 

 

Get Gritty!

Are you a believer in grit or overnight success? 

I enjoy hearing stories of both, but my head 🧠 and heart 💖lean heavily towards the gritty guy or gal who has persevered and succeeded after years of hard work.

I fundamentally believe that gritty people have the edge when it comes to success. And I’m inspired to do MORE and try HARDER after hearing gritty stories. 

We are bombarded with “quick fixes” – 10-day diets and 24-hour full-home makeovers – but in reality, real success is rarely seen overnight.🌙

Leaders, colleagues and parents need to encourage grittiness by trumpeting the gritty behaviors that lead to success. 

Here are two of my favorite stories.

#1. My husband is a 4-time Ironman race finisher💪! 

The monotonous and exhausting training that led up to my husband completing these races is an example of grit embodied. During the months prior to each race, his weekends were filled with long bike rides that started at dawn, hot runs on the track, and exhausting swims. Without that dedication, he would never have been successful. 

#2. Izak has been a part of my extended family for most of his life. 👶

He is the grittiest 18-year-old that I have ever encountered. His family is originally from Niger and they are Muslim. Although he attends a Jesuit high school, he continues to practice his family’s faith, which includes fasting from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan – the holy month of fasting, introspection, and prayer. His dedication to academics, his kind heart, and his ability to be himself at such a young age is awe inspiring. He will attend Indiana University this fall as a 21st Century Scholar. 

Whose grit inspires you? 💭 Give a shout-out to an inspiring gritty role model. 📣

Growing and Failing

I have a huge fear of failure. When failure occurs, my first thoughts are not very productive.

A typical first thought is, “I’m a total disaster! How mortifying!”🤦

I stay in this sad place for hours or days, depending on the size and scope of my failure. 

And then – sometimes with help and sometimes independently – I am able to:

✔️Recognizing my mistakes

✔️Own the role I have played in my failure

✔️ Dig in and course correct to prevent future failures

I believe these traits serve me well and allow me to be a person who has a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset. 

However, I want to be 100% clear. I certainly DO NOT rejoice when failure strikes and gleefully sing about how I’m growing. Best case scenario, I might laugh at my mistake and sarcastically note aloud that “this is clearly an area where more growth is needed.”

Resiliency in the face of failure is challenging. I’ve intentionally built this skill EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR around the sun☀️.

And I do not see that intentional effort stopping anytime soon.♾️

The benefits of having a growth mindset are HUGE and a few should be highlighted. 

☝🏽lower stress

☝🏽better work relationships

☝🏽higher performance levels at work

☝🏽enhanced brain development

I suspect my lifelong fear of failure will never leave me. My only hope is that it never STOPS me from striving and growing. 

Whether you’ve had a rough day or a great day, I hope this perspective brightens it! 

 

 

Tap into Your Talented Outliers!

Are you tapping into your outliers at work? If you don’t know what an outlier is . . . you need to read on. I’ll get you up to speed. 

Outliers Defined:

Remember the curve-breakers in middle-school? It was those 4 crazy-smart kids who got 99.5%, 97%, 95% and 92% on the Algebra II exam when the class average was 72.5%.

Your teacher would say,

“Sorry, no curve on this exam because a few people did really well.”

The class would moan. These curve-breakers are also known as outliers.

Had the class been allowed to turn in a team exam (not individual exams), these math-smart outliers would have carried the entire class into A+ range. But alas, that was not our lived reality. The rest of us, who scored in the 70th percentile, took our Cs and glared at the curve-breaking outliers. 

In middle-school it was hard to be an outlier. The majority of the class was mad at these brainiacs. 

How Outliers Make Impact:

But real-world adult life is (very happily) different from middle-school. When we find special abilities of our adult colleagues that are off-the-charts-better than the rest of the group, we highlight these abilities. Or at least, we try to. Right? 

Last week, in two separate group facilitations, our time spent focusing on the outliers of these teams made the biggest impact. The team I worked with in Lafayette, IN had a big “ah-ha” moment when they realized how to tap into Tanya’s unique ability to hear each person’s story and approach each audience differently. The team I worked with in Indianapolis, IN was shocked and grateful to learn that they had a want-to-be editor for all organizational communications. 

Are you tapping into the unique capabilities of your team members?

If not, you are missing an opportunity.

Let me know, and I can shed some light on your team’s unique abilities and how you can magnify their contributions. 

For more about outliers read Malcolm Galdwell’s remarkable book “Outliers: The Story of Success.”